Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, economy, Health, news, stress, suicide

Calls to Suicide Hotlines/Telemedicine Up During Lockdown Crisis

Crisis counselors and medical professionals are reporting record calls to hotlines and telemedicine outlets for mental health issues.

Crisis hotlines, including those in Massachusetts and California are recording record highs in the last few weeks.

On Telemedicine platforms, rules for prescribing some antidepressants have loosened as a result of patient demand.

Lack of in-person doctor visits, counselling sessions, rehab programs are leading to suboptimal care of those fighting mental illness.

New cases of depression and anxiety arose from abrupt unemployment, weeks of isolation, fear of a deadly virus, and a cloudy and confusing picture of the future.

In psychology, we urge patients to focus on what they can control and encourage goal setting. We also suggest sticking to schedules, good eating habits, exercise and outdoor activities.  The COVID crisis has unfortunately left millions of Americans with little means to interact with others, poor food choices and availability and no control over their employment, education, social lives, health or future.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. It’s toll free and available 24/7 allowing you to talk to a trained counselor confidentially.

Another option is texting.  Text HOME to 741741 allows you to text a crisis volunteer over a secure line as well.

Why do Some Consider or Commit Suicide?


Each year 48,000 Americans take their lives. That averages to 132 people a day.  And each suicide affects everyone with whom the  person has regular encounters. So why is it so common?  Here are six reasons people choose to end their life.


They Can’t See Around the Problem

When tragedy strikes, whether it be an accident, break up, job loss, missed opportunity, some can’t see “the light at the end of the tunnel.”  Many think and navigate through life one step at a time, which may be productive when it comes to tackling tasks, but if they feel the obstacle in front of them is insurmountable they may believe their options are far and few between, with death being the only out.


They’re Impulsive

Many of us have been trained to act on a whim. We quickly reply to a text, pop some food in the microwave, flick the controller while playing a video game…and these quick, instinctive acts are becoming apart of our daily behavior.  So when one has a fleeting thought of suicide, they may be less likely to slow down and think it through.


They Fear Death

This is one of the least discussed reasons people commit suicide, but unfortunately more common than we think.  Although most of us fear death and dying, some pathologically can’t handle the thought of it happening out of the blue.  Those who need control and need to plan ahead, may find solace in the fact that they are planning their own death.   They can’t control their birth but they can control their death, they believe, and for those who feel they have lost control of their life may find this tragic option welcoming.


They’re Depressed, Really Depressed

Hollywood stereotypes depression as a woman sitting on a couch eating ice cream to combat the tears and loneliness of a breakup.  But many have symptoms of severe depression and don’t know it.

  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • wanting to avoid others
  • poor appetite
  • lack of sex drive
  • apathy
  • anxiety
  • sadness
  • tearful
  • mood swings
  • poor memory
  • poor concentration
  • overeating

So many self medicate either by over-eating, drinking alcohol, smoking weed, or taking pills, which when wears off, can sink one into a lower funk. Without psychological or medical intervention, one struggles to recover.


They Feel No One Cares About Them

Since so many people are undiagnosed when it comes to depression, family members and friends are unaware their loved one is struggling.  Going about one’s business may be inferred as indifference by someone suffering from a mood disorder.  “They won’t even notice I’m gone,” pervades their thoughts and worsens their loneliness.


They’re Angry

If one feels they’ve been ignored, unheard or wronged, this could incite an “I’ll show ’em” attitude in which their suicide is plotted to be a form of psychological revenge.

Sadly many out there secretly hope they get help but don’t know how to ask for it. It’s up to us to seek them out and guide them to a medical professional who can listen, understand, and work with them.

Again, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. It’s toll free and available 24/7 allowing you to talk to a trained counselor confidentially.

Another option is texting.  Text HOME to 741741 allows you to text a crisis volunteer over a secure line as well.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.


Posted in Employment, Health, news, Plants, stress

Desk Plants Can Help You Relax AND Clean Your Air

A study out of the University of Hyogo in Awaji, Japan finds office plants to help improve the mental health of those who are stuck indoors all day doing a desk job.

The researchers evaluated 69 workers’ psychological stress and physiological stress, using questionnaires and monitoring pulse rates, who underwent a “control” phase without a desk plant, and an “intervention” phase with a plant of their choice from the following:  air plants (Tillandsia pseudobaileyi), bonsai of japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) or japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii), san pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi), foliage plants [parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans), heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium), or garden croton (Codiaeum variegatum)], kokedama of corn plant (Dracaena fragrans), and echeveria [peacock echeveria (Echeveria peacocki) or Echeveria ‘Splendor’]. 

They had training on how to take care of their plant, and needed to take care of it during the “intervention” phase of the experiment.

Not shockingly, those with desk plants who passively observed them, took care of them, or actively gazed at the plants showed improvement in overall stress and heart rate.

Multiple studies have shown a high resting pulse could signify future heart risk.  Hence a lower resting heart rate is a positive health marker.

Study authors conclude: For business owners, small indoor plants could be economical and helpful in their effort to reduce stress-related conditions. In addition, for growers of indoor plants and business owners of rental plant companies, the field of mental health for office workers could be promising markets. Our findings provide a piece of evidence in using small indoor plants for promoting workers’ mental health in the office.


12 Plants That Make Your Home and Office Healthier

How clean is the air in your home?  Noxious chemicals build up very quickly in one’s house.  These include:

Carbon monoxide (from heaters, fireplaces),

Radon (from soil, drains, pipes),

Formaldehyde (from tobacco smoke, new wood furniture, flooring and cabinets, and glue, cosmetics and detergents)

Volatile Organic Compounds/benzene/trichloroethylene, (from plastics, rubber, detergents, degreasers)

Ammonia (from detergents, cleaners)

Xylene (from cigarettes, paint and car exhaust)

These chemicals have been linked to a variety of illnesses from “sick building syndrome” which includes fatigue, myalgias, asthma, headache, palpitations and possible nose bleeds to cancer and possibly death.

Household plants can help eliminate these from the air that you and your family breathe.

The following 12 household plants may come in handy:

  1. Aloe Vera

    Helps reduce benzene and formaldehyde


  2. Spider Plant

    Reduces carbon monoxide and formaldehyde


3.  Boston Fern

Removes formaldehydeboston-fern

4.  Snake Plant

Removes benzene and formaldehyde



5.  Areca Palm

Removes most of the above mentioned chemicals and has been rated “Most efficient air purifying plant” by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America


6.  Lady Palm

Removes formaldehyde and ammonia

lady palm.jpg

7.  Bamboo Palm

Removes benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde


8.  Peace Lily

Removes benzene, ammonia and formaldehyde


9.  Golden Pothos

Removes most of the above chemicals



10. Dragon Tree

Removes xylene


11. English Ivy

Removes formaldehyde and mold



12. Chinese Evergreen

Multi-talented as well eliminating much of the above chemicals



Nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician @DrDaliah