Photo by Jon Tyson

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. Each year over 45,000 people in America die by suicide — a rate that has increased 41% since 1999. Mental health conditions are often seen as the cause of suicide, but 54% of those who commit suicide do not have a known mental illness

Suicide is rarely caused by a single factor, and is also affected by personal relationships, substance use, physical health, and stress from jobs, money, legal issues, and/or housing. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued systemic injustices have also had a chilling effect on Americans’ mental wellbeing. Awareness is important to end the stigma of suicidal feelings and help more people access life-saving help in dark times.

Anyone can have suicidal thoughts, but it is important to know they are not permanent. Having suicidal thoughts is not a sign of weakness or failure, but is a symptom of profound distress. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors can be very damaging and dangerous and should be considered a psychiatric emergency. 

Other than mental illness, there are a number of risk factors for suicide:

  • A family history of suicide;
  • Substance abuse — using drugs and alcohol results in mental/emotional highs and lows that can exacerbate suicidal thoughts;
  • Intoxication — more than a third of people who die from suicide are under the influence at the time;
  • Access to firearms;
  • A serious or chronic medical illness;
  • A history of trauma or abuse;
  • Prolonged stress;
  • Isolation;
  • A recent tragedy or loss;
  • Agitation; and/or
  • Sleep deprivation.
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This week is National Health Center Week. As healthcare has become more and more expensive, the need for low-cost healthcare has increased. Many people living in more rural parts of the country have a very limited number of options to see a doctor, and depending on their insurance status the number of available “in-network” doctors is even lower. Many people do not regularly see their doctor, only seeking healthcare when a more serious condition arises. It can be a stressful situation to be uninsured and have an unforeseen medical problem come up — especially during the ongoing pandemic. This week is meant to celebrate and raise awareness of local community owned and operated clinics providing high quality, cost effective, accessible care to more than 27 million Americans.

Community health centers have been vital to public health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as the primary source of care for many low-income populations and vulnerable communities by providing free screenings

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Minorities in America have unique mental health experiences. Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), and other minority groups experience systemic barriers in daily life that are so unrelatable for white Americans that many refuse to believe they exist. Recognizing the disparities in access and experience of mental health can raise awareness and reduce stigma for vulnerable people.

By nearly any measure, Black people suffer disproportionately in America. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to white women. Black children are more than three times more likely to die after surgery than white children. BIPOC face countless challenges to good health, among them food, transportation, and income. Healthcare services are often more expensive, with over 30% of medical expenses faced by BIPOC being associated with health inequities. The stress of living life inescapably affected by racism has very real effects on a person’s physical and mental health

Black people are

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June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. A vital part of awareness is knowing that migraines are much more than just a bad headache. Migraine is a neurological disease with debilitating symptoms that affects over 39 million people in the United States. Most people who experience migraines get them once or twice a month, but more than 4 million are affected by daily chronic migraine with at least 15 days of debilitating symptoms every month.

Everyone has headaches, but not everyone experiences migraines. Migraine is not a measurement of headache pain. Many people think there’s a scale: mild pain, moderate pain, severe pain, migraine. This is a misconception. A migraine may be any level of pain, from none to severe. Migraine involves nerve pathways, brain chemicals, and often runs in families but also has environmental factors. There is no single migraine pattern. Some people find certain foods bring on a migraine, while others may find bright or flashing lights start the process leading to a full-blown migraine. 

There are

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Last month, we observed National Women’s Health Week. For the month of June there is Men’s Health Week, held each year to encourage men to make their health a priority. There are many tips for men to improve their health, and we at NeedyMeds have resources for a number of conditions that predominantly affect men.

There are many ways to observe National Men’s Health Week such as taking a bike ride, committing to eat healthier, quitting unhealthy habits, or getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Men can improve their health by getting a good night’s sleep, quitting tobacco and avoiding second-hand smoke, being more active in daily life, and managing stress. Being aware of your own health is important as well. Be sure to see your doctor for regular check-ups and get tested for diseases and conditions that may not have symptoms until there is an imminent health risk. Testicular and prostate cancers are easily detected with regular checks. Men are encouraged to begin yearly screenings at 40-50 years of age, especially if you have a family history.

For men over 45 years of age, the most

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