Grief center shows increase in patients

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 10:08 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2022 at 11:38 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - President Joe Biden released a COVID Preparedness Plan with four major points.

The strategy explains how the administration plans to move forward, but for some, the effects of the pandemic will forever linger.

Counselors and therapists across the country have seen thousands of more people seeking help with grief caused by the death of someone with COVID-19.

In Jonesboro, NEA Baptist Center for Good Grief saw a 20% increase in individual sessions from 2019 to 2021.

“When you put isolation and grief together, that is so hard. So, we have seen an increase in the number of clients,” said Anna Paige Umhoefer, clinical manager at the center.

She said everyone grieves in their own way, but more grief is being linked to suicide.

“It is not unheard of for someone that is grieving to have suicidal thoughts themselves or to think of how overwhelming that stress is and that can lead to those overwhelming thoughts of suicide,” said Umhoefer.

New phases of the pandemic seem hopeful, but the center saw a 16% increase in new clients from 2019 to 2021.

The number alerted Umhoefer that people still need their help.

“I think it has definitely increased suicide rates in certain populations, demographics, age and that is why it is so important for us at the grief center and counselors throughout the nation to let people know we are available,” she said.

Services at the center are at no cost to clients to make them accessible to the entire community.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always available.

Crisis centers are open 24/7.

The number to contact the lifeline is 800-273-8255.

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