Mental health concerns might be on the rise in Peoria County
PEORIA (25 News Now) - Between the weekends of August 5, and August 12, three suicides or suicide attempts occurred in Peoria County.
That number is in line with the typical amount of suicides in a given year, according to Peoria County Coroner Jaime Harwood and Sheriff Chris Watkins. They attribute sudden frequency to random chance.
However, this rise comes as UnityPoint Health’s UnityPlace Crisis Center is experiencing an influx in patients in a mental crisis. Crisis Center Emergency Response System Manager Christina Gerlach said the center said people are getting more and more “outside stressors” at the same time, making it difficult to handle.
Once they expanded their hours, they noticed an immediate increase.
“Life stressors, economics, schools,” Gerlach listed. “Things are gradually coming at people, it’s two or four things hitting them at the same time.”
She also thinks the end of assistance programs that were available during the COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to poor mental health, citing one patient who came in worried about repaying their student loans once the pause ends at the end of this month.
The Crisis Center she manages allows anyone to walk in and receive peer counseling from someone who can better relate to their situation than a counselor, Gerlach said. Since many of the current stresses, like rising costs and the global pandemic, are out of the average person’s control, they focus their counseling and crisis management on what the person in need can handle.
If someone is showing suicidal ideation, they direct them to resources to help with their mental health.
The phone number and hours for the facility can be found here.
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