Colleton Medical Center
September 08, 2021

Walterboro, SC (September 8, 2021) - Suicide is a large and growing public health problem. Someone dies every 11 minutes due to suicide.  It’s the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and concern is on the rise due to the pressures and stress of COVID-19. 

“The pandemic is adding to the levels of anxiety and it’s overwhelming for some,” says Dr. Charles Shissias, Psychiatry Medical Director.  “At Colleton Medical Center, We are seeing patients that say the social distancing is making them feel isolated and lonely and long periods of time without their family and friends as support are affecting their ability to cope in a big way.” 

Since some of these actions are necessary to reducing the spread of COVID,  Dr. Shissias suggests there are a few triggers that may sound an alarm that someone who is already struggling needs additional help during this time; job loss, loss of support services and concern over medical care, changes in sleep, eating patterns, worsening of chronic health issues or mental health conditions, and increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other substances. 

Studies show, suicide is higher among people who have experienced violence, including child abuse, bullying, or sexual violence, depression, anxiety, and other emotional or financial stresses. “We know who in our circles we should be checking on more frequently and there are ways to protect our loved ones.  First and foremost it is support from family and community, feeling connected, and having access to in-person or virtual counseling or therapy can help with suicidal thoughts and behavior,” Dr. Shissias, added.   

Colleton Medical Center has people who can help 24/7.  Call 843-782-2000.  Or you can find help at the resources listed below. “If you're concerned about someone, trust your instincts and consider it an emergency,” Dr. Shissias advises. “When you take action, the worst case scenario is that people go to the ER and they're okay and referred for outpatient care,” he points out. “But the best case scenario is that you save a life.”

For crisis counseling and support related to COVID-19, call the Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990) or text Talk With Us to 66746.

People considering suicide can also reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘HELLO’ to 741741. They will be connected with a person who will listen to their concerns without judgement. They can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish.