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To enable our partners, faith based organizations, and communities to address the holistic health of families in South Carolina. 
May/June 2021

In This Issue:
May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Every year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness.  And the onset of COVID-19 has not helped. If anything, it has been devastating for people struggling with mental health issues and substance misuse disorders.  Many people have lost their jobs, social and family interactions have been limited, and support groups and treatment regiments have been disrupted.  According to SAMHSA, close to 4.5% of adults in South Carolina live with serious mental health conditions such as schizophreniabipolar disorder, and major depression.  
We need to become more knowledgeable about this most important issue, not so much for ourselves, but as caretakers of one another.  Hence, this e-newsletter encourages resolving to:
  1. Know more about the coronavirus’ impact on mental illness and the opioid epidemic.
  2. Get trained in Mental Health First Aid to know the signs and symptoms of those experiencing a mental health crisis.
  3. Know more about safe medication disposal.
  4. Stay informed about COVID-19.
  5. Know more about more about secondhand smoke and SC’s Quitline.
COVID-19: Everyone is Eligible
Getting Vaccinations Is How Together We Beat COVID-19. 
Do not Delay, Vaccinate Today!

All COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free. They reduce your risk of getting the virus, particularly in severe forms.

  • The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots, 21- and 28-days apart respectively. Don’t leave your first appointment without knowing when and where you’ll get your second shot.
  • The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine is a single shot.
  • *The Pfizer vaccine is approved for those 12 and older. Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines are approved for 18 and up.
Vaccine Information
Vaccine Appointments
What is Herd Immunity?
Vaccine & Vaccination FAQs
We're here for you!  Please call our office at (803)461-3201 for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and/or to schedule an education session for your respective congregation and/or community.
Learn More
COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on the Mental Health of Americans and the Opioid Epidemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for people struggling with mental health issues and substance misuse disorders. Not only have people lost their jobs, but social and family interactions have been limited. In addition, support groups and treatment regimens have been disrupted as the country has gone into lockdown to reduce the spread of the deadly virus. 

The 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) report revealed during the pandemic 4 in 10 adult Americans experienced high levels of psychological distress, including bouts of anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and loneliness, up from just 10 percent in 2019. Specifically, the KFF Health Tracking Poll from July 2020 found that many adults suffered specific negative impacts on their mental health and well-being, including difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%) and worsening chronic conditions (12%) due to worry and stress brought on by the virus. The Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey (April 2021) captured the following data on the health and economic impacts during the pandemic: 

Young adults (aged 18-24) report symptoms of anxiety and/or depression (56%). Compared to all adults, young adults are more likely to report substance use (25% to 13%) and suicidal thoughts (26% to 11%).  

Adults in households with job loss or lower incomes report higher rates of symptoms of mental illness than those without job or income loss (53% to 32%). 

Women with children are more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and/or depression than men with children (49% to 40%). In general, both prior to, and during, the pandemic, women have reported higher rates of anxiety and depression compared to men. 

Non-Hispanic Black adults (48%) and Hispanic/Latino adults (46%) are more likely to report symptoms of anxiety or depression than Non-Hispanic White adults (41%).

Compared to non-essential workers, essential workers were more likely to report symptoms of anxiety or depression (42% to 30%), increased substance use (25% to 11%) and suicidal thoughts (22% to 8%) during the pandemic. 

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that, between May 2019 and May 2020, 81,230 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, an increase of over 15 percent from 2019 and the largest number of drug overdose deaths ever recorded. Synthetic opioids drove this increase, rising 38 percent during this period, more than double the overall drug overdose death rate. South Carolina was among 25 states in which overall drug overdose deaths rose more than 20 percent and reported synthetic opioid death increases at this level. The pandemic has been the major cause for these increases in opioid usage by forcing people to isolate away from support and treatment services and back into addictive behavior.

Recent actions by national and state public health agencies are directing new policy solutions towards addressing the opioid epidemic and the mental health issues arising from the pandemic. As the country begins to reopen with a major vaccine effort to reduce the pandemic’s impact, it is imperative that these new efforts be implemented, and that the momentum lost during the pandemic does not force the nation to start over again. 
Safe Medication Disposal
Is your medicine cabinet full of expired prescriptions and medications you no longer use? Your medicine is for you. What is safe for you might be harmful for someone else. 

Make sure that young people in your life do not have access to any medications in your home.   The best way to dispose of your expired, unwanted, or unused medicines is through a drug take back program.  Another option to safely dispose of medication may be done at home based on the following video.
Where and How to Dispose of Unused Medicines | FDA
Mental Health First Aid
Just as CPR helps an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) assists someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis and connect the person with help. A public education program, the Mental Health First Aid course, introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact and overviews appropriate supports. Becoming a first aider does not prepare one to diagnose or provide any counseling or therapy. Instead, the program offers concrete tools and answers key questions like, “What do I do?” and, “Where can someone find help?” This program also teaches common risk factors and warning signs of specific illnesses like anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia. 
For those desiring to be trained, please contact our office or visit our website to learn more.
Learn More
Mothers Eliminating Secondhand Smoke (M.E.S.S.)
Since 1964, approximately 2,500,000 nonsmokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. During 2011–2012, 2 out of every 5 children ages 3 to 11, including 7 out of every 10 Black children, in the US were regularly exposed to secondhand smoke. M.E.S.S. is a program that encourages faith-based organizations to accept the challenge to address secondhand smoke by establishing maternal support groups, hosting educational sessions, and initiating other appropriate activities to reduce tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. 
Funding is available for faith-based organizations to implement education and policy activities for their respective congregation and communities. Please contact us to learn more and to see if your organization qualifies.
Learn More
South Carolina Tobacco Quitline
FREE nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges are available to eligible South Carolinians who enroll in Quitline services.



  • Free one-on-one coaching (phone or web-based counseling and support) to quit smoking
  • Development of a personalized quit plan
Learn More

Need Further Assistance? Contact Us:
website:     phone: 803-461-3201
Copyright © 2021 Hold Out the Lifeline, All rights reserved.

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