Crisis hotline calls have tripled. Here’s what you can do to help

FOX Files

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Some people fear depression could be more life-threatening than any virus. People like Tyler Kasch are speaking out about it, talking online about the things most people hide.   Kasch is documenting his depression on a Youtube series called ‘Moving Forward, Not Moving On.’ 

Kasch said, “I don’t where I would be if I didn’t reach out – and I hope other people can find comfort in doing the same.”

The beanie he wore during our interview says everything about his struggle.  It was his wife Jessica’s – who just died from brain cancer

He told me, “I think she had a feeling – I think she knew this was coming because we were already quarantined up for several months together before all this. I was taking care of her during her last months and making sure that she was healthy and happy.”

She died March 2nd. Kasch said, “We have another day – and if you have that other day, it’s up to us to honor the people who don’t have those other days by living life to the fullest. That’s what I’m trying to do by honoring Jes every day for the rest of my life.”  

He’s decided to be honest – online – about his darkest struggles.    In this episode, titled “Suicide / I’m still here” Kasch said in part, “I don’t know what talking about it is going to help, but I have to try. I know a lot of people out there feel lonely – and i’m one of them.” 

People from around the world have connected with him.  Kasch explained, “Even though we have these physical boundaries and we’re distant in many ways – we can connect.” 

Clinician Lauren Ochs talks to people in crisis – through Provident Behavioral Healths’ 24 hour crisis line. Ochs said, “Sometimes you talk about things that you can’t talk about with your family and friends.”

The phone call is free.  Ochs added, “It gives you that barrier as the caller knowing that I don’t know this person – they’re not going to go off telling my secrets or anything because this is 100% confidential.” 

According to Provident “the suicide rate is highest among middle-aged white men, who accounted for almost 70% of all suicides in 2017.” 

Two of the biggest suicide risk factors are also more prevalent under the current pandemic:

  • Using drugs and/or alcohol to help cope
  • Social isolation

Daniel Dwyer also talks to people in crisis. He says the best thing you can do is listen and validate someone.  Dwyer said, “A lot of times people’s first knee jerk instinct is to say ‘oh don’t feel that way’ or ‘don’t think about it’ or ‘don’t say that’ – thinking we can just you know shut it down but you know all that does is just puts the lid on the emotional pressure pot.”

Kasch says validation from others is what’s been most meaningful to him.  He says the pandemic might, in some sick way, teach that to people.  He said, “We all have this in common. No matter where you’re from, what you believe in, we have this in common now for the rest of our lives and it’s up to us now to relate — and push on together.”

Provident Crisis Hotline: 314-647-4357

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Kasch made this Youtube video before his wife died when she was five years cancer free:

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