Stressed by COVID, Lockdown, Economic Downturn, Lack of Health CareVoice of OC


Orange County psychological well being — already affected by an absence of entry to well being care and sources — pushes the county’s most weak populations to a breaking level.

Editor’s Observe: This story is a part of a collection on Orange County’s psychological well being. All tales are produced by college students in a digital journalism course at Chapman College. This story, the primary within the collection, was written by Paige Hughes and edited by Jennifer Losch. To inquire or write us about our Voice of OC Youth Media program or this piece of labor, e-mail us at [email protected].

Suicides in Orange County spiked to the best stage in 100 years in 2019 and, whereas barely down in 2020 up to now, calls to assist hotlines and studies of psychological well being points are on the rise.

Knowledge exhibits that 48 of the 80 Orange County zip codes report greater charges of self hurt hospitalizations and deaths than most counties in your complete state between 2016 and 2018.

New applications and campaigns have moved into motion, together with a rise within the county’s funds for psychological well being companies.

In case you or somebody you understand is considering suicide, please contact the 24/7 Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline (obtainable in English and Spanish) by calling 1-800-273-8255.


Psychological well being is tremendously struggling throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic. 2-1-1, Orange County’s 24/7 hotline for these scuffling with psychological well being, has seen a profound enhance in calls throughout this previous yr, more than likely as a result of Coronavirus pandemic.

Licensed psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Love reveals that the psychological responses stemming from these points can “enhance the degrees of monoamine oxidase (MAO) within the mind.” MAO is an enzyme within the physique that deteriorates neurotransmitters equivalent to serotonin and dopamine. The decrease the degrees of serotonin and dopamine, the extra seemingly the physique will reply with emotions of hopelessness and despair.

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In an effort to fight the psychological well being disaster, Orange County plans to arrange a $2 million psychological well being outreach program, offering protected areas {and professional} assist to many residents who in any other case wouldn’t have entry to remedy. This plan highlights the need for remedial, mental-health remedy within the county in addition to the commonality of mental-health circumstances (Voice of OC – Psychological Well being Marketing campaign). 

In early November, three extra new psychological well being initiatives have been introduced at an Orange County information convention. “These campaigns are upstream to attempt to forestall the deaths,” mentioned Well being Care Company’s director of Behavioral Companies Dr. Jeffery Nagel.

The county psychological well being companies additionally simply launched a 3 yr plan for 2020 by way of 2023, with intention to reassess psychological well being wants of the county, present extra service applications for those who need assistance in addition to outreach, and to work with the general public faculty districts all through the county.

Whereas the severity of the scenario has risen, “now we have not seen in 2020 an increase within the charges or variety of deaths by suicide,” Nagel mentioned.


As of August, the Orange County Well being Care Company has reported 177 deaths by suicide this yr. Suicide is the tenth main reason for loss of life in america and impacts folks of all ages, genders, religions and ethnicities.

The Middle for Illness Management paperwork that each twelve minutes, one loss of life by suicide happens in america, and roughly one loss of life by suicide happens each 40 seconds worldwide.


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