New York, NY – According to the U.S. Surgeon General, suicide amongst adolescent girls is up 51-percent and nearly 5-percent amongst adolescent boys. These tragic figures follow on the heels of a record number of overdose deaths across the country. All of these astounding statistics, however, are only part of the mental health crisis we now face as a nation. 

Ben Kimmel.

According to the World Health Organization [WHO], “Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese.”  The WHO further finds the lifespan of people with severe mental health disorders is “shorter” than those without — with cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart diseases, atherosclerosis, hypertension and stroke, being some of the leading causes of death among people with severe mental health disorders.

Sadly, the statistics are not new. But how, exactly, could this be? 

We have access to information, statistics and support services — and still, the crisis keeps getting worse. Worldwide, mental health disorders are blamed for the loss of about one trillion dollars annually. There should be enough awareness and informational programs to rid our societal misperceptions surrounding mental health disorders  but the stigma around mental challenges remains a real obstacle to better health. By now, one might think mental health challenges would be somewhat normalized. And yet, nearly half of people who struggle with emotional disorders, reportedly fail to seek professional help. 

The pandemic has had an significant impact on our mental health crisis — especially now with the new Omicron variant causing even more concern. New York City commercial office space remains about 80-percent vacant, which means Covid continues to impact our society financially, socially, physically, and emotionally.
How do we recover from all this?

The best answer is self-care. Common suggestions are as follows:

  • Remain mindful of Covid-safety protocols
  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise 
  • Take care of your yourself
  • Manage your hygiene
  • Stay connected with loved ones and friends
  • Dedicate time for yourself
  • Create healthy social, personal and professional boundaries
  • Do something you enjoy every day
  • Find ways to rest and relax

Above all, remember that it is important to always seek the appropriate level of care when facing a personal crisis. Keep in mind, our mental health systems have been updated to handle challenges with online, video, text and telehealth solutions. This means no one has to struggle alone.

  • Suicide: 1-800-273-8255
  • Domestic Violence:1-800-942-6906  
  • Sexual Assault 1-800-656-4673
  • Drug/Alcohol 1-800-662-4357
  • NY Project Hope 1-844-863-9314

Or, text HOPELINEAT 741741 from anyplace, anytime.

As I’ve mentioned in my columns before, if, for any reason, none of these numbers help — please find my email below. Perhaps we can find a solution together.

Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an Author, Writer on, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Well-being and DEI Content Provider, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach and Peer & Wellness Advocate.  Ben can be reached at


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