Sarah Stultz: There are many out there cheering you on

Published 8:18 pm Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz


Every day we check the logs from the Albert Lea Police Department and Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office, we typically look for people who are arrested or cited for crimes, as well as crashes where someone was injured.

The logs also include people cited for smaller offenses such as traffic violations, as well as several calls typically considered medical in nature. Concerns about mental health or people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts are in that category.

These types of calls usually do not make it into our reports, but today I’d like to shine a light on them. Just because they are not in our reports doesn’t mean they aren’t happening.

While I don’t have the numbers, I would definitely be willing to go out on a limb to say that these types of calls centering around mental health and suicidal thoughts or actions have been on the rise in our community.

They catch my eye every time I see them on the logs, and when there’s more than one or even a handful in a given weekend, it becomes concerning.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, increased mental health concerns have been seen across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey from late June conducted by the agency found that 40.9% of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavior condition related to the pandemic, including symptoms of anxiety disorder, depressive disorder and trauma- and stressor-related disorder.

The percentage of respondents who reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days before they completed the survey was even higher among respondents ages 18 to 24, minority racial and ethnic groups, non-Hispanic Black respondents, self-reported unpaid caregivers for adults and essential workers.

We live in stressful time in our society, and these stresses are hitting many people hard.

For anyone reading this who may be struggling with anxiety or other mental health concerns, know that you have a community that cares, and there are resources available to help you.

I firmly believe mental health concerns should be treated like any other medical condition and people should not feel like it is any less important to seek medical help for a mental health need than it is to seek help if you are to have a heart problem or other condition.

Though it may not seem like it at times, know that you have many people cheering you on.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.