Karen Pence speaking at the Republican National Convention
(Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images)

Karen Pence: We Need to Reduce Stigma on Suicide

WASHINGTON–The Second Lady believes there is a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic: people are talking about mental health more.

Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President and former Indiana Governor Mike Pence, spoke to Harris Faulkner on Fox News Thursday.

“Everybody is feeling some type of anxiety. Everybody is feeling a sense of isolation. It’s an opportunity for us to talk more and bring up the conversation of suicide prevention,” said Pence. “Honestly, you don’t have to have all the answers. Just reaching out to someone in need is a way to start the conversation and let them know that you are willing to help.”

Pence said she is particularly concerned about teenagers and the mental health struggles they may face, which have been made more difficult by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We want parents and friends to be willing to talk about the struggles and successes. Our kids need to have a place where they can vent. It is a difficult time for our kids. They don’t have the life experience that those my age might have where I can look back and say, ‘This isn’t going to last forever. I know we’ll get through this.’ This is new to them. This is a real crisis,” said Pence.

Pence said it’s about reducing the stigma against suicide more than anything.

“Talk about the successes too. There are some things, maybe during this pandemic, that your family has been able to do like spending more time together than they weren’t able to do before the pandemic.

She’s leading a national campaign called REACH. It’s part of the White House’s focus on veteran suicide.

“It’s our duty to come alongside our vets and help them in their time of need,” said Pence. “We want our vets to reach out. Suicide is preventable.”

Pence said she recently visited veterans hospitals in Indianapolis, Atlanta, Charlotte, Charleston, and Omaha.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is a free, anonymous hotline (888-628-9454). Pence encouraged veterans who are struggling to call the Veterans Crisis Line 800-273-8255 and Press 1 or text to 838255.

report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month, titled “Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” found that from June 24 to June 30, 25.5% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 and 16% between the ages of 25 and 44 had “seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days.”


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