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16 Jul, 2024
UVA psychiatrist shares the mental stress her patients struggle with –
1 min read

UVA psychiatrist shares the mental stress her patients struggle with –

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — About 49,000 people committed suicide in the United States in 2022, according to the CDC.

“Most of my patients tell me how stressed they are about politics,” said Dr. Kim Penberthy of UVA Health.

Penberthy says she sees 12 to 20 patients a week. And with the presidential election approaching, she says politics have taken a toll on the mental health of her patients, regardless of their political affiliation.

“It affects both sides, so there is no one who is immune to this phenomenon,” Penberthy said.

And she says the stressors keep increasing.

“Every Supreme Court decision, the different announcements we see in the news, all the rhetoric, all of that makes people very anxious,” Penberthy said.

Although American society struggles with many issues and regulations, gun violence remains a hot topic.

According to the National Violent Death Reporting System, 59% of violent deaths in 2021, including suicides, homicides, and accidental deaths involving firearms, were used with firearms.

“It’s very frightening when someone threatens to commit suicide with a firearm or similar weapon because they will most likely succeed in committing suicide,” Penberthy said.

Penberthy believes better firearm security could reduce those numbers.

“If people use gun safes and locks to store their guns, we have some evidence that it can reduce gun suicides,” Penberthy said.

Although the CDC has not confirmed all of the data for 2023, 49,000 people committed suicide in the United States in 2022.

The National Suicide Prevention and Crisis Helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 988.