Suicide Crisis: a “new normal”


JOPLIN, Mo. — It started with social distancing and lots of hand sanitizer… Even a toilet paper shortage. Now, we’ve moved into a time where masks and vaccines come highly recommended by medical professionals.

But… After a year and a half… Is this our “new normal?”

It can be overwhelming.

Here’s the next part of our series “The Suicide Crisis: Prevention, Information, And Awareness.”

“We lend an ear to them, so they can talk, they can vent, get it off their chest,” said Jessie Sartin, Show Me Hope Team.

“A lot of panic, scared, fear,” said Kaci Scribner, Show Me Hope Team.

The show me hope team, through Freeman Health’s Ozark Center, has become a constant resource for mental health, as we continue to live through this pandemic.

“We do sidewalk chalk for the patients at the Freeman Hospital, to be able to look out their windows and see, and for the healthcare workers, as well. We are trying to participate in back-to-school things. We provided coloring books in school bags,” said Scribner.

Additionally, each team member is stepping into the community anywhere they see a need.

“The senior center was really short of staff, so we were able to get meals out to the elderly, because they’re lacking driver, serving meals. We were helping with the health departments because they were overwhelmed,” said Sartin.

The team of 8 members has been hitting the pavement– specifically related to COVID-19 — since April of last year.

“Let them talk, hear what they’re feeling. Just try to give them encouragement, let them know that they’re not alone,” said Sartin.

“I think if it’s not helping them directly, they’re at least feeling like somebody’s listening to them, and that they have somebody that is caring for them,” said Scribner.

They also provide resources for how to get further mental health help — and they hand out tools for mental health, like journals.

“It’s just a way for people to put their feelings on paper. It’s another way for them to get it out, so that they can not just keep it bottled in. But, they can put their thoughts on paper and it seems to help. They can doodle, they can draw,” said Sartin.

“I think anything to just make them smile. Make them see, ‘Someone’s thinkin’ of ya. It’s not all just COVID and masks,” said Scribner.

Because, sometimes, that listening ear can make all the difference.

“Try to do what works best for your mental health, and get through it together,” said Scribner.

If you know anyone struggling with their mental health and they need someone to talk to, we urge you to call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-talk.

We also have more resources for you on our website under our suicide crisis tab.

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