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It’s “OK Not To Be OK” during a pandemic

It’s “OK Not To Be OK” during a pandemic

Last month, in honor of Suicide Prevention Day, Demi Lovato and Marshmello released a song called  “OK Not To Be OK.” The song’s message is to encourage people with depression and suicidal thoughts that they will get through it and it is okay to feel that way. Lovato and Marshmello wanted to contribute to spreading suicide awareness and help destigmatize mental illness. 

Currently, the United States is plagued by multiple crises. We are facing a public health crisis and an economic crisis. People have faced months on lockdown. The pandemic has overwhelmed people with feelings of fear, anxiety, frustration, sadness, and loneliness. 

Cities around the U.S have experienced increased suicide rates this year. Los Alamos, New Mexico has gone from only two suicides last year, to triple the amount this year. Cook County, Illinois has seen a 13% increase in suicides as compared to this time last year, and Fresno, California has experienced a 70% spike in suicides this June compared to the same month last year. In surveys conducted prior to the pandemic, 9% of respondents reported depressive symptoms, researchers found. Once the pandemic hit, that percentage jumped to 28% of respondents, according to new survey data.

According to the researchers, some reasons for suicide during the pandemic may include increased isolation, increased unemployment rates, and mass grief. Suicide rates were already rising in the past two years, and the pandemic seems to be making this rise more severe. A similar rise in suicide deaths has occurred during other health crises and economic recessions, according to medical experts. And in high schools, there are far more deaths from suicide than COVID-19.

Lovato has spoken publicly about her mental health journey and has advocated for mental health for many years. Lovato has struggled her whole life with bipolar disorder, eating disorders, depression, and alcohol and drug addiction. This year, she has spoken to the intersection of mental health and the pandemic, specifically.

Lovato posted a photo on her verified Instagram that said, “The mental health impacts of COVID-19 will outlast the virus.” Lovato captioned the post:

“So many have been left alone with their thoughts, their anxieties, their abusers — and are struggling with the uncertainty of these times. That is why I am helping to launch #TheMentalHealthFund to support organizations who are meeting the increased demand in crisis counseling due to COVID-19.” Lovato also wrote a deeply personal letter about the pandemic, mental health, and Black Lives Matter  Vogue, published on Vogue. 

“OK Not To Be OK” is a fun, upbeat, catchy song that makes the listener feel carefree and want to get up and dance. In addition, having the encouraging message, “It’s OK Not To Be OK,” on replay is positive and impactful for everyone. 

The song can relate to anyone and any situation, from a bad day to having deeper feelings of hopelessness. Lovato’s lyrics say, “When you’re high on emotion/ And you’re losing your focus / And you feel too exhausted to pray / Don’t get lost in the moment/ Or give up when you’re closest / All you need is somebody to say / It’s okay not to be okay.”

“OK Not To Be OK” has a very important and powerful message behind it. It is extremely impactful and important to release this song during a time when so many people are experiencing crippling loneliness, job loss, and grief. Suicide is something that should be talked about more to better prevent it. If you or a loved one are struggling with thoughts of suicide, click here for help. Hopefully, listening to this song can help start conversations about mental health and seeking help.

“OK Not To Be OK” is available on Spotify, YouTube Music, Apple Music, and Deezer.

Featured Image courtesy of xoluvlaurenxo via Flickr Creative Commons

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It’s “OK Not To Be OK” during a pandemic