Suicides, overdoses are up amid COVID-19 pandemic, according to health experts

It's a disturbing trend stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as Dr. Cara Christ with Arizona's Department of Health Services says suicides and overdoses are up.

"We are seeing an increase in drug overdose and in suicides not just here in Arizona, but nationally. And so could some of that be associated to the isolation and loneliness? That was one of the things that we were worried about," said Dr. Christ.

2020 has been deadlier through the first six months of the year than any of the past three years. Factors include COVID-19 deaths and possibly more overdoses and suicides.

Therapist Chrissy Orellana with Scottsdale Recovery Center says unfortunately, she’s not surprised.

"As they’re isolating, their substance abuse is escalating,” said Orellana. "It’s heartbreaking to watch the self-destruction that occurs, and the pandemic has made it apparent that more and more people aren’t reaching out for resources."

Orellana says the important thing to remember for people struggling right now is that there still are plenty of resources available

"Zoom meetings, 12-step meeting that are available. There’s different support networks you can reach out to on the internet. You can communicate with them privately, and they’ll point you in the right direction for when the world does open back up," said Orellana.

If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (1-888-628-9495 for Spanish), or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line)

CLICK HERE for the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential emotional support.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (In Spanish/En Español)