ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. — One family hopes to bring awareness after losing a loved one to suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jae Bae’s step-brother was an independent contractor working on people’s homes, but the jobs stopped because of the pandemic. Bae and his wife Kellie said they didn’t realize how much he was struggling.
“I got a phone call from the Rolling Meadows Police dDepartment for a well-being check,” he said.
Bae’s step-brother died by suicide.
“The loss of work, being alone, brings about a lot of different feelings, we don’t want anyone else to have to struggle and experience loss of a family member by suicide, and we want people to reach out, just connect,” Kellie Bae said.
Kelley Kitley is a mental health expert who says the struggles brought on by the pandemic are real.
“We’re seeing a huge increase in the reported numbers of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, as well as suicide,” Kitley said.
Kitley said one way to help during this time — whether someone is struggling or there’s concern for a loved one — is to talk.
“To reach out and tell somebody because that will automatically get you out of your head and into connecting with somebody who can help you. And if you don’t have a family member or friend that you feel comfortable talking to, there are lots of free resources available.”
In Illinois, there’s now the Call4Calm text line. It’s a free text message line to put people in touch with a counselor in the area,” Kitley said.
She said there’s also the Crisis Text Line. And for anyone with suicidal thoughts and call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.
That’s what the Baes want others to learn from their loss.
“We’re hoping that anybody, or anyone that is struggling through this pandemic — financially or mentally to reach out,” Bae said.
For more information on resources and tips for coping during this time visit nimh.nih.gov.