The Importance of Caring Contacts
A caring contact is a written note or card expressing care. Mental health therapists use these cards as an adjunct to treatment for those who have increased risks related to mental illness. These cards are intended to help individuals feel a sense of connectedness and increase positive engagement.
According to a Los Angeles Times article, reports of generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder increased among adults in California, particularly due to the pandemic. Additionally, with many unemployed, this also contributes to the feeling of hopelessness.
Many have been quarantined at home for health and safety reasons, and unable to visit with loved ones. In addition, children and youth may have limited external interaction apart from distance learning, there has been an increase in depression and anxiety amongst youth and adults.
These types of feelings – hopelessness, trapped, emotional pain of losing loved ones – are a few signs that someone may be thinking of taking their own life. Each year, 800,000 lives are lost due to suicide. It is the second leading cause of death among individuals ages 15 to 24.
However, there are ways to help a friend or loved one prevent these types of thoughts and simply show you are there for them. If someone is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours seven days a week at 800-273-8255. Another way to help is to send a caring contact.
"Caring contacts are incredibly effective in promoting a feeling of social connection especially during this time of social isolation. This simple intervention has been proven over the past 45 years as an effective tool to decrease suicidality," says Audrey Read Brown, clinical director. "Clients have expressed how much they have appreciated this added outreach of care during this challenging time."
A client confided in Audrey expressing gratitude for the card stating, "It meant so much to me and it reminded that I'm not alone...that someone thinks of me." They also said that they carry the card in their purse as a reminder that they matter to someone.
If you feel like you're having thoughts of suicide or know someone who might be struggling, read these additional resources here.