When To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) was founded 14 years ago, there was no global pandemic. No one’s life was completely upended—in work or relationships with friends and family. For the most part, everyone’s livelihood was intact. But there was still a ubiquitous, and often silent, struggle worldwide. Mental illness was prevalent but was kept behind the curtain more so than it is today. Suicide was (and still remains) the 10th leading cause of death among Americans and was the second leading cause of death for those under the age of 35. In the years between 1999 and 2018, the cases of suicide have increased 35 percent, alone, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As the world exists predominantly in lockdown following the coronavirus pandemic, life as we once knew it is not normal for the unforeseeable future. Anxiety and depression brought on by self-isolation and remaining socially distant, loss, and other traumatic events tied to COVID-19 may lead us on the verge of one of largest mental health crisis in history.
As of April 2020, the federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress saw a 1,000 percent increase in registered callers, compared to the same time in 2019, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, which also revealed that 72% of Americans have admitted that their lives have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. Overall, 56% reported that the stress and worries (rent, job loss, illness, etc.) related to the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in them feeling at least one negative effect on their mental health and well-being, including increased alcohol consumption, problems with eating and sleep, and the worsening of chronic conditions.