Doctors say knowing signs, starting conversations could help those struggling with mental health

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Sunday, September 12, 2021
Doctors offer tips for those struggling with mental health
A Kaiser study found an increase of individuals without a history of seeking mental health help reporting suicidal thoughts from 2019 to 2020.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- On World Suicide Prevention Day, mental health advocates and professionals are preaching the same message: it's okay to not be okay.

With a swing of the bat in May, former San Francisco Giants Minor Leaguer Drew Robinson took a swing at the stigma of mental health.

Robinson's suicide attempt in 2020 changed his life forever and now he works to change the life of others as a mental health advocate for the Giants.

RELATED: Bay Area sees therapist shortage as California reopens following COVID-19 pandemic

On Friday, he threw out the first pitch at the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants game.

"I've realized that it's never going to go completely away, but I'm doing a better job and I think I'm getting better each time I start to go through some depression phases again," Robinson said. "I really rely on my support system."

His story shows mental health struggles can impact anyone.

On Sept. 10 every year, we recognize World Suicide Prevention Day.

In 2021, it's especially important.

WATCH: 'It's really crucial': Local psychologists push for interstate practice, say continuity is key

Some California psychologists are advocating for the right to continue seeing their patients remotely, even if their patients have moved out of state.

"With this global pandemic, which I think is something I don't think any of us anticipated being a part of in our lifetime and all the other stressors and changes going on in our world, those can all be risk factors for worsening our mental health," Kaiser Permanente Psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn Ridout said.

A Kaiser Permanente study found an increase of individuals without a history of seeking mental health help reporting suicidal thoughts and behaviors from 2019 to 2020.

While the study shows overall youth suicide attempts are down, it's important to know the warning signs like reckless behavior, sudden mood changes and the feeling of no sense of purpose.

You can find more signs here.

RELATED: Pandemic anxiety returns amid COVID-19 setbacks, mask recommendations in Bay Area

If you see these signs, doctors say it's time to seek help.

"We know that suicide, especially in youth, is an important issue," Dr. Ridout said. "It's one of the number one causes of death in our youth and for adults as well. But it's preventable. One of the best ways to prevent it is talking to each other and being able to detect mental health problems early."

Doctors say know this: help is out there.

For those dealing with the struggle, it's okay to not be okay.

Click here for a look at other ways you can Take Action where you live.