We’re concerned about the effects of social isolation and coronavirus stress on people who are dealing with thoughts of despair. Across the country mental health experts are ready to help through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

We’re Dwight Holton, executive director of Lines for Life and a former U.S. Attorney, Greg Borders, LSCW, chief clinical officer for Lines for Life, and John Tierney, a journalist at KGW-TV in Portland, Ore. who has helped media organizations more responsibly report on suicide.

We’re here to answer any questions you have about suicide prevention and coping with the mental health effects of the coronavirus pandemic.


Comments: 488 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

Indy_Anna495 karma

I've lost my job and I'm terrified of what the economy is going to look like on the other side of this. I'm having a hard time having any positive thoughts whatsoever. How do I change my perspective when everything seems hopeless?

kgw8581 karma

I'm so sorry about your job. As a journalist covering this story I can understand how it's easy to find yourself only seeing negative stories. But if you look closely there are so many stories of hope out there. Seek those out and let them inform your view of the world these days. Just yesterday at KGW we covered a story of neighbors in an apartment building who posted a sign in the lobby offering to cook meals for any residents stuck in their apartments. That motivated two other neighbors to do the same thing, and a third started a Nextdoor group to open that offer up to other nearby buildings. One of our anchors reminded our audience that when you see empty streets you're actually seeing a powerful signal of love and compassion. People are staying home to keep their community safe. Seek out the positive wherever you can. It's out there, I promise. -John Tierney, KGW News

Dognado173 karma


kgw8337 karma

The experts seems to say it will depend on how good we are at doing the distancing.

But here's one thing we can control: let's make this about physical distancing but social connection. If we do that, we will have resilience and connection to make it to the other side healthy


Dognado84 karma


kgw8150 karma

I hear you, it's not the same -- but what we are finding is that making the best connections we can reduces the stress and eases the reality of isolation - which definitely and unambiguously sucks.


pepetribo144 karma

firstly thank you for doing the this iama and i hope this doesn't feel too much off topic, but i was always curious how the person in the other end of the line deal with their own mental health after a whole day of listening to others problems? more in the terms of the long run.

edit: better grammar, and added the last part.

kgw8139 karma

Great question! We recognize that the pandemic is a really challenging time for mental health professionals because they are having a shared experience with the callers who are calling in with their fears and anxieties. What we are hearing from our call counselors, however, is that they are able to connect with callers more quickly because they understand the concerns that they are hearing on the crisis lines. As supervisors, we are making sure that we encourage our staff to take breaks and practice good self care during this time.

-Greg Borders, LCSW

kgw846 karma

It's a great question. We work really hard to support our team -- their health is really job one for us, because we can't do our mission without our people.

Our technology allows for real-time support via the phone from supervisor to call counselor (in a way that doesn't interrupt the caller).

But we also are looking to try to build the community we are missing from the office -- so we are setting up regular coffee breaks on zoom, we are going to launch twice a day physical activity with one of our call counselors who is an awesome personal trainer in her spare time -- and I think I'm going to do a few "Cooking for Quarantine" classes for easy out of the pantry meals -- all just stuff to maintain our community...


WellReadHermit112 karma

Thanks for being here. These days are really stressful. Many things are changing, and outcomes are uncertain. What are some of the best actions people can take in support of ourselves and one another?

kgw8113 karma

Yes, we are getting a lot of people calling into our lines asking a similar question. Because there is so much uncertainty, people's anxiety is really going up. What we are encouraging people to do is to make sure that they stay socially connected to loved ones and others while having to have physical distancing. Now is not the time to social isolate, that will only increase feelings of loneliness, hopelessness and fear. If you are someone who is feeling well from a mental health perspective, then this is a great time to go through your phone contacts and see who could really benefit from you reaching out to them. We are also encouraging folks to put some boundaries and limits around how much media they are intaking. It can be natural compulsion to want to take in as much media as possible in hopes of getting answers. Unfortunately, there's a lot of misinformation out there and also a lot of negative and fear driven news. We recommend limiting new intake to just the amount that you need to stay informed and also to make sure you are only getting news from reputable sources.

Greg Borders, LCSW

kgw864 karma

Our call counselors have been having this conversation with hundreds of people every day -- and some of the strategies they are sharing are

  • stick to your routine -- if you get up and shower and have a cup of coffee, that's the way you should start your day now
  • MOVE some -- whether it's a walk around the block or a yoga class in your house, get moving some
  • CONNECT with friends -- reach out and find an old high school friend, it will make you both happy


kgw86 karma

Yes, we are getting a lot of people calling into our lines asking a similar question. Because there is so much uncertainty, people's anxiety is really going up. What we are encouraging people to do is to make sure that they stay socially connected to loved ones and others while having to have physical distancing. Now is not the time to social isolate, that will only increase feelings of loneliness, hopelessness and fear. If you are someone who is feeling well from a mental health perspective, then this is a great time to go through your phone contacts and see who could really benefit from you reaching out to them. We are also encouraging folks to put some boundaries and limits around how much media they are intaking. It can be natural compulsion to want to take in as much media as possible in hopes of getting answers. Unfortunately, there's a lot of misinformation out there and also a lot of negative and fear driven news. We recommend limiting new intake to just the amount that you need to stay informed and also to make sure you are only getting news from reputable sources.

Greg Borders, LCSW

MegaFruit46 karma

Hi, I'm a college study finishing up my degree this semester and I am having a difficult time dealing with the stress and anxiety of both school work and the state of the world. How do I get my head back into a good space where I can actually do my work?

kgw836 karma

I'm sorry you have to go through all of this at this point in your life. I know the uncertainty and stress is not easy to deal with. Try to find outlets to get your mind off things whenever possible. Our friends at Lines for Life have a few tips to do that:

- Connect with people as much as possible. Maybe FaceTime or set up a Zoom with your classmates or your friends from childhood. You can share stories and coping techniques -- or just talk about something totally unrelated.

- Move as much as possible. Go for walks, get fresh air, do yoga (there are great classes on YouTube!) or exercise.

- Set a routine, and make sure that routine has some time to relax or take your mind off the news.

Best of luck to you.


whidzee46 karma

I am leading a team. What kinds of things should I be on the look out in my team members to identify if they are starting to lose it?

kgw836 karma

I think right now it is more important than ever to do regualar check ins with your team members. I'd encourage doing 1:1 check ins, as well as group check ins. Some individuals will not feel comfortable sharing how they are doing in a group setting. Things that you want to make sure you are aware of are when considering how your team is doing: are they having any changes in energy levels; increased use of drugs or alohol; mood swings; trouble sleeping; changes in appetite; heightened worry; more conflict in communication with team members and/or supervisor. Most important, tho, is just don't be afraid to ask them how they are doing, let them know you care and want to make sure they are handling this well.

M4nusky12 karma

Can I ask how we are supposed to deal with those who lost it already? Snapping at every one, mishandling parts and equipment in rage. Shouting that everyone else as gone mad and are trying to kill him by walking at only 5 feet and that he's the only one doing anything right?

kgw812 karma

Great question and sounds like a tough situation you are in! We are hearing this often on the crisis lines that their loved ones are super stressed right now and sometimes taking it out on them or other people. I don't have a simple answer for you, but the most important thing you can do during this time is to make sure that you are taking good care of yourself. I think if you gave us a call at 800-273-TALK, we could hear more about your specific situation and be able to come up w/ some ways with you to cope with these stressors during this time. Can you give us a call? We are here 24/7.

-Greg Borders, LSCW

kgw815 karma

I manage a team of journalists covering this story every day. I find it's really important to call or FaceTime people individually as often as possible. You can have a more personal conversation than you'd get in a group video conference. I directly ask people how they're doing and recognize that could change day-by-day. I think it helps. -John Tierney, KGW

Treighsie44 karma

I'm someone who has always tried to stay very busy. I hate being home because I am a single mom and it's very lonely and hard. Now, I cannot leave and all of my business has halted. How do I get out of my head? I know I'm not the only one in those situation but it's hard to remember that when I'm feeling so down.

kgw817 karma

I'm so sorry -- It's really hard. Our call counselors like to help people find particular strategies that help, because it's different for everyone. But here are a couple of things I hear them say a lot:

MOVE some -- whether it's a walk around the block or a yoga class in your house, get moving some

CONNECT with friends -- reach out and find an old high school friend, it will make you both happy

DogLog9143 karma

Thanks for doing this! Like most people I've been in my apartment for a few weeks now. I'm able to work from home but I haven't seen anyone besides my roommate for 3 weeks. To stay informed I check Reddit and other news sources. My question is, when so many people shift to negative speech online and we are unable to be brought back up by going to see friends and family, what steps can each of us take to make sure we don't fall into negative thought patterns? Thanks again!

kgw831 karma

We're happy to be here and thanks for the question. Even though we are covering this story 24/7 at KGW, we remind our staff and our audience that it's ok to turn off the coverage sometimes. It's not healthy for anyone to consume COVID-19 news all the time, even people who do it professionally. If you are consuming news, try to include some positive news stories as part of our media diet. They do exist! There are countless examples of people stepping up to help other people. I would try to find those wherever you can. Thanks and best of luck. - John Tierney, KGW News

DogLog917 karma

Makes total sense! Thanks again for doing this and for answering my question. Be well and keep up the work you're doing John!

kgw87 karma

Thank you!

thereinventedstoner21 karma

What would you suggest for a partner living with someone affected by depression and suicidal thoughts? How can the partner be a support?

kgw824 karma

GREAT Question, one we hear a lot.

First, you should always feel comfortable calling the Lifeline -- 1.800.273.8255. Our folks are trained to help friends, family and loved ones game through precisely this challenge -- how to help someone you are worried about.

You should also know that it's ok to ask someone if they are feeling suicidal -- you can just ask straight up if they are feeling like they might hurt themself. If the answer is no, it's ok, and can be a conversation starter about how to help them feel better.

If the answer is yes, you can tell them "thank you for telling me. Let's get you connected with folks who can help" -- and then you can call the Lifeline together.

VerityParody19 karma

I'm in the psych field and this is something I've been discussing. Do you think we will see an increase in suicides and over doses? If so By what percentage? How much would you attribute to unemployment?

kgw86 karma

It's hard to know -- we do tend to see increases in calls during times of economic challenge for sure.

But a lot of what happens depends on what we do and how we respond. And if we take time to make social connection now, to reach out to friends and family, we can help prevent that kind of uptick. Our mission at Lines for Life is Building Hope Everyday -- and it's more important now more than ever that everyone join in on this. Give an old friend a call, facetime your mom!


pdxchris6 karma

I’m not an expert, but I looked into this recently. During the 2009 recession, the suicide rate only rose 6.5%. The unemployment rate is much higher now, but a lot of people know that this is temporary. We know that this will pass, but our current situation has a lot more factors that lead to suicide including the social isolation and most importantly the huge increase in the availability of guns. I know of a lot of people that have watched way too many zombie and virus apocalypse movies and went out and bought guns. Having a gun greatly increases your chance of being successful at suicide.

kgw816 karma

The clinicians I work with have taught me that rule number one is that suicide is complicated -- so looking for one factor that caused a change in suicide stats is tricky.

What we do know is that there are steps that can help -- connecting people with the Lifeline, building hope. (Hope is not a Hallmark card concept when it comes to suicide, it's an actual evidence-based strategy).

And yes, folks with guns are more likely to die by suicide. What that means is that if someone you know who is a gunowner is struggling, it's worth having a conversation to see if they will consider lettering a friend or loved one hold their gun while they are struggling. The Veterans Administration has done great work on how to do this in a way that doesn't feel threatening -- and doesn't make it a conversation about politics...

kawaiian17 karma

Thanks for your time. I’m here in Portland and especially appreciate your work Mr. Tierney.

I was admitted to a suicidal watch ward and held for a week several years ago. During this time, the doctor told me to lose weight and eat better, and it would correct many of my problems. Medication was offered, but after losing a parent to overdose I struggled with the idea of taking any.

I am down 100lbs and the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life so far with no signs of quitting. However, I’m still a diagnosed bipolar, borderline, schizophrenic, depressed adult with generalized anxiety disorder. These issues are better, but as you all know, borderline comes with the call of the void built in.

I am now ready to overcome my fear of prescribed medicine and get the help I need.

A question to the panel, do you put the same amount of trust in telephone psychiatry visits as you would in person for complex and formerly suicidal patients?

I’m suffering mentally from the inside of my head and too afraid to leave my house to get the in-person mental care I need. It’s compounded further by the fear of going to a pharmacy to pick up the medicine. Thank you.

kgw810 karma

Thank you so much for reaching out with your question. We are certainly hearing folks calling our crisis line with similar fears and concerns. First off, congratulations on the great progress you have made. Because of your successes over the last year, my hope is that you have some sense of how incredibly determined and resilient you are. And it is completely natural that some of your symptoms may have come back because of the extraordinary times that we are living in. To answer your question about tele-health, we are finding that it is a great alternative to in person therapy/med management. It can feel a little odd at first, but you are still able to find a way to share your concerns and fears in a confidential setting. The folks we have heard from who have tried it, were really surprised by how well it works. I really hope you give it a shot! Also, it might be possible to have your medications mailed to you instead of having to go to the pharmacy. Take good care and feel free to always call the 800-273-TALK if you need to talk to someone right away. We are here 24/7!

-Greg Borders, LCSW

Happy4Col17 karma

Have you seen an increase in calls since the Covid-19 outbreak started?

kgw839 karma

We have not seen an increase in calls on our crisis lines -- and that's also true for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (which is one of the lines we answer); they are seeing basically flat volume too.

It's hard to say what that means -- but we are seeing lots of evidence of hope and connection. People are home with families, connecting with old friends, and checking on their neighbors. That kind of hope and connection is the best medicine for the isolation..

At Lines for Life, we are telling people we're for physical distancing -- but social connection.


wsgatlin15 karma

Good morning. How do I maintain a positive attitude when I am cooped up in the same surroundings day after day, week after week, and now...month after month?

kgw88 karma

It's a solid question, one our call counselors here all day. Here are some of the strategies they are sharing

  • stick to your routine -- if you get up and shower and have a cup of coffee, that's the way you should start your day now
  • MOVE some -- whether it's a walk around the block or a yoga class in your house, get moving some
  • CONNECT with friends -- reach out and find an old high school friend, it will make you both happy

It is shocking how much a call to an old friend or a Facetime or Zoom if you can do it can help remind us about positive stuff ....


operaghost1814 karma

I’m starting to loose motivation to do anything. I’m kind of just becoming numb, is there anything I could do to help this?

kgw810 karma

Thanks for reaching out. Losing motivation is certainly understandable. This feels like it has been going on much longer than it actually in part because all of our routines are disrupted and many of us are feeling stuck at home. I have found that the most important thing I can do to re-energize myself is to get up and move and try to get outside, honoring physical distancing, of course. We tell our callers to try to keep as many of their routines as possible during this time. Also, try to get up and go to bed at the same time each day. Little things like these can really make a difference. Lastly, try to limit the amount of media that you watch. It can be tempting to get stuck watching the news all day long. Try to watch enough to stay informed but then find other ways to fill your time.

Hang in there!

-Greg Borders, LCSW

kgw81 karma

You can always check in with folks on our support lines -- 1.800.273.8255.

Or maybe you have a friend or family member to zoom or facetime? I always leave those contacts feeling better....


caseyoc12 karma

Hi there! I've seen a few memes on social media about how we need to be aware that we're not working from home, but at home in a crisis trying to do our work. (Or something like that.) The gist is that we should not put a lot of pressure on ourselves to maintain the same kind of productivity while working from home as we would do if everything were normal and we were back at work. But when I try to make this shift in my head, I feel guilty about it.

What's realistic for managing our work behaviors while at home? Should we expect the same out of ourselves (or our coworkers or employees), or not?

kgw86 karma

I don't think it's fair to expect the same out of your coworkers or employees of yourself during this situation, especially when you don't know the other stresses they might have at home (child care, worrying about an older family member, spouse losing job, etc.). At KGW we encourage our employees to take regular breaks -- maybe even more breaks than normal. Personally, I've started taking my full hour lunch every day to maintain some level of clarity -- something I rarely did when working in an office. I don't think you have anything to guilty about if your productivity is different working from home.

Our friends at Lines for Life have a few tips for people isolated at home:

- maintain a daily routine

- Get up an move whenever possible. (get fresh air, do some yoga, exercise, just walk around the house, whatever!)

- Connect with people whenever people, even if it's a phone call or FaceTime. (Just maintain social distancing!)


John Tierney, KGW News

Z_zZ_z_Zz12 karma

If suicide rates have spiked in the past few decades what changes do you think are needed to the current prevention model, which is obviously outdated and ineffective? I believe the current chronic financial and emotional stress and social isolation will cause a massive uptick in suicides for years and years to come. I don't believe this issue isn't being taken remotely as serious as it should be.

kgw812 karma

Super question. What we are learning is that early childhood trauma in life drives all sorts of challenges, from higher suicide rates to higher addiction rates, incarceration rates, even physical health outcomes like cancer.

So the answer is that we need to be supporting families to prevent and address early childhood trauma -- it means working to support families when things are hard, it means helping parents get addiction treatment and into recovery, it means better early childhood education.

These things cost money -- but save so much in the long run AND make us healthier and happier....


cleo18449 karma

I had a friend who called the hotline once and said the person on the phone was not empathetic and did not make her feel better- kept asking what her insurance was so they could refer a therapist. I was really surprised.

My question is: are the online hotline volunteers/employees trained on helping people in the moment to decrease suicidal thoughts? Or are they there as a middle man to help connect people to mental health professional? If the latter is there a hotline to help with at the moment suicidal issues? Thanks!

kgw87 karma

Wow, that is not ok. That is not what you would hear on the Lifeline. You can find the Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 (TALK)

Yes, our staff and volunteers go through 60 hours of training and then several listening shifts before they are ever put on the line. The training includes the gold standard of training for helping people who are suicidal -- it's called ASIST. (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training).

The Lifeline's job is exactly what you are asking about: people trained to de-escalate crisis -- and then build a safety plan going forward. Sometimes that means referral to a clinician, sometimes it means taking a shower and getting something to eat, or checking in with mom. So no, the Lifeline isn't a middle man, we're about crisis intervention...



southparkbro1229 karma

There’s a strong relationship between poverty and mental illness, lower levels of reported happiness, etc.

What role (if any) could universal basic income, expanded health care, or other safety nets play in reducing untreated mental illness and suicide?

kgw813 karma

There is increasing evidence that the trauma of dislocation from losing your job, or having a job that doesn't pay the bills, contribute to depression, addiction and suicide. Nick Kristof at the NY Times just published a book about this -- Tightrope -- and has had several very powerful columns on the topic.

Kristof talks about the "escalators" that have lifted people out of this poverty and dislocation, and the strong evidence that where we've seen these escalators, we reduce isolation, suicide, depression and addiction. So that's where I think we need to be going..


STBPDL8 karma

Im struggling. My wife left in January to go all the way down to FL, was only supposed to be for a month.She couldn't come home as she has a fear of flying. Now shes stuck down there. Working from home but drinking heavily, from the time I get up (to control the DTs) to the time I go to bed . Depression, anxiety. Haven't eaten hardly anything in almost a full month. every day is just gray and depressing. Cant sleep. I think about self harm all the time.what advice do you have?

kgw84 karma

Thank you for honestly sharing what you are going through. It takes a lot be able to talk about these struggles and to admit that you need help. It is important that you not try to detox on your own. This can be dangerous, as you well know since you described having DTs. I would encourage you to either call your doctor and see if he/she can help you to detox and/or manage your drinking, or if you don't have a doctor, then to call 800-662-HELP. They will be able to talk with you around options for managing your drinking. I really hope you will make that call because I am concerned about your health. I also realize that it can be really scary to think about addressing your drinking when there are so many other stressors you are going through including your wife being in FL. Try not worry about the long term question of "can I quit drinking forever", just focus on how can I get this under control so that I can get my health and mental health back while I'm riding out this pandemic.

-Greg Borders, LCSW


suchsweatpants8 karma

How to get through staying at home with major depression? Just left my job because of the impact it had on my mental health and now the days seem unbearable sometimes. I don't know if I can do another month of this.

kgw83 karma

level 1suchsweatpants3 points · 34 minutes agoHow to get through staying at home with major depression? Just left my job because of the impact it had

Thank you for reaching out. Now it is more important than ever to not isolate. I realize this is incredibly challenging to find connection when we are having to physically isolate. Reach out to your loved ones if you are able. If you don't have anyone you feel comfortable confiding in, then please call us at 1-800-273-TALK. We are here 24/7 and we want to talk to you.

A few things we are telling our callers is to try to do the following things: try to get up and go to bed at the same time each day. Figure out a routine that works for you and try to keep it. It's also important to get up and move some. If exercise is your thing, then try to increase how much you exercise. If you don't have an exercise routine, then just try to move some. I'd also encourage you to try to get outside some. Of course, respecting physical distancing, but it's important to get some fresh air. It really can help your mood. Also, try to limit your media input. There's a lot of unknown questions still out there and I know it can be tempting to get stuck watching the news all day long. Try to limit that to just the amount that you need in order to stay informed. Also, we encourage folks to really only check out the news from 1 or 2 legitimate media sites. Take good care!

-Greg Borders, LCSW

rainsinyourbedroom8 karma

I work for a non-profit organization that provides suicide prevention education for all types of people. What's the best way to continue our services virtually to talk to as many people as we can during this time? Who can I connect with to promote our webinars?

kgw83 karma

This is something we are working on too,....

Our YouthLine is starting to do outreach online in conjunction with schools. (Our YouthLine is a teen-to-teen peer crisis line; we spoke to about 20,000 teens last year by call, text and chat).

Schools are desperate for meaningful content and worried about their kids -- so we have found them eager to figure out ways for us to co our prevention outreach online. I'd reach out to a few schools and see what you find out...


t3hdubzy7 karma

I was told by CNN that a pandemic is exactly the type of thing that makes depressed people elevate themselves and thrive.... thoughts?

kgw83 karma

The bottom line that the clinicians here have taught me is that depression is complicated -- so I'm pretty skeptical of any blanket statements.

That said, we are seeing and hearing tons of stories of connection -- people reaching out to old friends, zoom socials, etc. AND there is a ton of wonderfully uplifiting content out there too -- not sure if you saw the Italian students singing "Helplessly Hoping," wow



acertaingestault7 karma

What institutional policies would you recommend businesses implement at this time to support employees' mental health while they work from home? And for those who must go into work like manufacturing or grocery stores?

kgw85 karma

Hello. At KGW we've made a point of reminding our employees that we're in this potentially for a long while so it's important to pace themselves. We encourage our staff to keep taking regular breaks while working from home -- maybe even more breaks than normal -- to help remove themselves from thinking about this tough story 24/7. It's even ok to turn off the news and do something else. Our friends at Lines for Life encourage anyone working from home to maintain a routine, find time to move or exercise and connect with people virtually as often as you can. - John Tierney, KGW News

WellReadHermit7 karma

What options could people explore for support, now that most of us are in isolation?

kgw86 karma

The national lifeline is a great resource if you need to talk to someone or access resources. The number is 800-273-TALK (8255). We also recommend you contact your insurance company and see if they have any tele-health options for you. All kinds of counselors and doctors and clinicians are doing virtual visits now to help people. If you're talking about support for substance abuse issues, groups like AA have been holding virtual meetings. I hope that helps.

- John

doctorsnorky6 karma

Do you think we will see an increase in domestic violence from people being locked up with abusive spouses?

kgw86 karma

Great question. I'm not sure if we will see an increase in domestic violence, but there's no question that people are feeling cooped up together and are not able to do their usual routines that help to keep them emotionally healthy. If you or someone you know is living in a domestic violence situation, we really encourage you to reach out to a domestic violence hotline. You are not alone in this situation and there are still options for you to get out of the situation you are in. You can also call us at 800-273-TALK. We will help to connect you with a professional who is well versed in helping those in domestic violence. Reach out for help. It is more important now than ever.

-Greg Borders, LCSW

Iwinyoul0se6 karma

Thank you for being here. I'm curious as to what you think are the worst things that could happen due to social isolation to an individual and what that person can do to avoid it happening. Is there a group of age more at risk than others of being negatively impacted?

kgw84 karma

Seniors are at highest risk for depression and suicide - and that's who our clinicians think is most as risk.

So: reach out to older folks in your life: family, friends and neighbors. Check in on them and just see how they are doing...

At Lines for Life we run a Senior Loneliness Line -- you can find us at http://seniorlonelinessline.org/ or 1.503.200.1633. We' are always happy to hear from folks there...


WrongTurnforLife5 karma

Hey guys, thanks for doing everything you do!

I was just released from hospital due do catching this nasty virus and the staff on my ward was amazing. But they are exhausted and sleep-deprieved and totally overwhelmed by their workload and what may come the next couple of weeks. Is there anything to boost their spirits?

kgw83 karma

I know providers are really energized by hearing from people -- send them a note! Or post something on line -- you'd be amazed how far that travels...


beartrapperkeeper4 karma

I feel like i over analyze every “symptom” i have. Headaches, little coughs, am i breathing normal? Can i still taste and smell? Is this something that is normal in this type of situation?

kgw85 karma

I'm not a clinician, just a lawyer running a terrific nonprofit -- but I can tell you that EVERYONE I know is doing this, me included. I inhaled some pepper the other day and sneezed and my entire family asked me if I still have a sense of smell...

so in my personal experience, it's pretty dang normal...


ImTheGodOfAdvice4 karma

What is the biggest comeback you’ve ever seen in someone who thought they had nothing?

kgw810 karma

Great question. So first: we really do see these stories EVERY SINGLE DAY on our crisis lines. For every person who dies by suicide, there are 280 people who think seriously about it but don't -- and the vast majority of these folks go on to find a way forward and recover. That is 280 comeback kid stories for you...

But I will also tell you the name that popped into my head as I read your question: Kevin Hines. Kevin jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge -- and the second he was falling, he regretted it. Kevin lived, and his story is about as amazing a comeback as you will ever see. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcSUs9iZv-g


TheSchaeferchen4 karma

How to deal with family members that go through depression right now and aren't able to/don't want to get the help they desperately need? How can I help and also how can I stay sane myself while dealing with them?

kgw83 karma

Thank you for reaching out. Given that there needs to be so much physical isolation right now, supporting others can be really tricky right now. Right now, there are options for your loved ones who are experiencing depression to find places to talk about what they are going through. They can call our crisis lines at 800-273-TALK. We are here 24/7 and would love to be able to support them during this time. There are also telehealth options for some folks. I would recommend you encourage them to reach out to their health plan and see if there is a telehealth option available for them. Also, I really want to encourage you to practice good self care during this time. If you put all your energy in supporting your family, my concern is that you will not have much energy left if you don't take good care of yourself at the same time. Keep good routines that are beneficial to your mental health. Try to get outside some, honoring physical distancing, but get some fresh air. And try to move each day. Also, if you need help figuring out how you can best support your loved one, you can always call us, too! We want to be able to help you figure out how to balance all that you have got going on.

Take goo care.

-Greg Borders, LCSW

lunitabonita3 karma

Portland native here... John, can you give details about your journalism project? I searched your name in relationship to suicide and not much popped up.

Also, glad you're working for KGW instead of KATU now. Sounds like a step up to me!

kgw83 karma

Hi - thanks for writing. About a year ago KGW and other media outlets in Oregon teamed up for a collaborative reporting project looking at the problem of suicide in the state and how we can lower Oregon's suicide rate. It was called Breaking the Silence. You can see all of our reporting here: https://www.breakingthesilenceor.com/We had several dozen media outlets participate and most shared content with each other (a bit step in a competitive media field). I have also spent a lot of time working with Dwight and other experts in the field of suicide prevention to help reporters more responsibly report on this topic. That includes understanding how language we use in stories matters and how to avoid the so-called "contagion effect" where reporting on specific details of a suicide can encourage similar acts by others. -John

hit_the_button3 karma

For those with severe anxiety surrounding this whole pandemic, would you recommend abstaining from social media to avoid the scary headlines? I feel much worse every time I get online.

kgw83 karma

It may seem counter-intuitive for a journalist to answer this way, but YES! You are absolutely allowed to avoid reading the news. The most important thing is that you stay safe, and if reading the news or going on social media causes you anxiety then please avoid it. If you do read the news, try to also seek out positive stories. We've reported many stories about people stepping up to help other people. There is good news out there and it might just make you feel a little better about this situation.

stay safe,

John Tierney, KGW

Paul_Dogba3 karma

How are you dealing with the isolation?

kgw83 karma

Thanks for asking. It is hard, and it's going to take a while I think.

I've been doing a lot of connecting with old friends online, through FaceTime and Zoom. My family has been playing games with other families -- there are decent apps do to that with video too.

And I'm moving a lot -- the dogs have never been walked this much....


standinginmyownway2 karma

I am full time carer for my son, it's just the two of us and I usually get respite when he goes to school. Any advice for full time carers mental health?

kgw83 karma

Self care is SUPER important. I'm a dad too and I get that when you try to make time for self care, it feels like you are taking time away from your kid. But the bottom line is that you will be better, and more resilient for your child if you make the time. Even if it's just finding something to keep him distracted for a little while a couple times of day -- when you can check in with a friend or do a few yoga poses or whatever works for you.

Wish I could take a shift to spell you!


National_Bumblebee2 karma

I was bullied my whole school life, abused by my ex gf, developed severe panic anxiety, and now recently found out I'm trans. I was suicidal before all this, but now, I went home to my parents on a remote island, and I'm thinking about ending it every time I think about my gender issues, cus it feels so much easier than facing it, and all the pain is just too much. I don't know when I would even be able to take any steps to do anything, especially now living with super religious parents in a country whose health system has no sexuality department. I have talked to psychiatrists on the phone, but they have no clue what to say, and just talk about depression medicine (I'm on my 4th one now). Who do you recommend talking to, who can actually say something helpful or comforting?

kgw86 karma

I'm so glad you reached out! The short answer to your question is to call the Trevor Project (866) 488-7386. They are really the best at serving the LGTBTQ+ Community. I'm confident when you call them you will find that you are not alone. They will be able to link you to resources such as a therapist and possibly a prescriber who is sensitive and affirming to the needs of clients in the LGBTQ+ community. Hang in there, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I want you to know that so many of us want to be there for you and to help you through these hard times. Reach out for help and don't isolate. Although we are needing to do physical distancing, please remember that now is the time for social connection. It's essential in order to not get stuck in our own negative thoughts. We need others more than ever to talk to about our fears and concerns. Take good care!

-Greg Borders, LCSW