PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. — Shut downs, isolation and virtual schooling have caused mental health issues to skyrocket during the pandemic.
While most charity runs have gone virtual, the Talk 2 Me 5K in Prairie Village held an in-person event.
The whole point of the Talk 2 Me campaign is for people suffering with mental illness to get together and have difficult, judgement-free conversations. Many of the runners were teenagers and young adults.
Jacob Metzner said his peers are really struggling right now.
“Not ever having the opportunity to see people and catch up with friends, managing school from home and never talking to the teachers…It’s really stressful,” Metzner said.
Two years ago, Jacob’s mom started the program Talk 2 Me. It’s designed to help young people connect, heal, and thrive. And this event is giving people suffering from mental health disorders some new coping skills.
“This is all prevention right now, going outside, going for a run, being with other people even while socially distanced. These are all preventative as are connecting to your community and volunteering,” said Elise DiCarlo, the executive director of Talk 2 Me.
The CDC reports that a study conducted during the pandemic shows an increase in people are suffering from mental health issues. 40% of respondents said that they have struggled with at least one mental health issue, 30% say they’ve had anxiety and depression and 10% of respondents say they’ve had serious thoughts of suicide.
“Just talk to one person, and it will cut your problems in half. One safe person, and keep doing that,” DiCarlo said.
“I have a support group of friends who I will go and tell that kind of stuff to with no judgment. I would really suggest that you find one or two close friends to confide in about what you’re going through,” Jacob Metzne added.
If you don’t have a friend to talk with, contact the suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255, or find additional resources here.