Dear members of Faith Action,
As you know, this has been an unprecedented time of stress and hardship for Americans -- social isolation, job loss, home schooling, illness and death of loved ones, fear of and confusion about a rampaging pandemic. A crisis card and flyer have been developed (attached) to help folks in Hawaii get assistance for domestic violence, child abuse, mental health challenges, substance use, suicidal feelings, trafficking, and parenting stress. A donor has generously donated the costs of printing these for you and your congregations. Please let us know how many you want and to what mailing address they should be sent. (Feel free to use these any way you want -- reproduce yourself, use in social media, etc.) Following are data that document how great the need is -- and how much people are suffering:
Self-reported symptoms of anxiety have tripled and of depressive disorder have quadrupled (CDC, Augus14, 2020)
Suicidal ideation has doubled, with young people at highest risk. A NYTimes article recently highlighted suicides among student athletes.
Guns are responsible for half of all suicides. Gun sales have almost doubled during the pandemic.
Among Black residents of Baltimore, suicide deaths doubled during the first lockdown, March-May, while White suicides appeared to drop by half.
Overall: younger adults, people of color, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers reported disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation.
Domestic Violence: Reports of domestic violence increases have varied: several cities reported 20-27% increase, New York City's DV online resource saw site visits more than double, and Houston reported a 357 percent increase in emergency placements for those fleeing abuse. At the same time, shelters have had reduced capacity due to safety protocols.
Child abuse: While official reports of child abuse have dropped across the country (since most child abuse is identified by school or health care staff), calls to the ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline increased by 31% in March, 17% in April, and 43% in May, compared to 2019.
Substance use: In March 2020, there was a 54% increase in national sales of alcohol compared to March 2019.
In one survey of 1,000 people, half self-reported an increase in past-month alcohol consumption and one-third reported an increase in illicit drug use.
Overdose deaths, May 2020 compared to May 2019: Overdose deaths involving cocaine increased by 1/4, meth deaths increased by 1/3, and synthetic opioid-involved deaths rose 38%. The Washington Post reported a 42% increase in overdose deaths in Washington DC, and 10 western states reported over a 98% increase in synthetic opioid-involved death.
There has been an enormous impact on the mental health of frontline health workers: a national survey of 1,119 healthcare workers showed that 93% were experiencing stress; 86% reported experiencing anxiety; 77% reported frustration; 76% reported exhaustion and burnout; and 75% said they were overwhelmed.
Your distribution of these cards will help many people access the assistance they need in this time of immeasurable stress and suffering. Hope to hear back from you soon. Contact Ashleigh (firstname.lastname@example.org) to place an order. The cost of printed cards will be provided to you at no cost! Please add to your bulletins as well.