John Muir Health has been carefully following, and continues to follow, the Shelter-in-Place Order implemented by Contra Costa County Health Services to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We recognize that our own COVID-19 response activities at John Muir Health are part of a larger public health emergency response, and we are committed to working closely with the Contra Costa County Public Health Officer and Contra Costa County Health Services in support of their efforts to manage the larger Public Health emergency.
We realize there are a number of opinions on the topic of Shelter-in-Place, including within our medical staff. John Muir Health encourages our physicians and staff to participate constructively in these important discussions. We all share a concern for the health of our community whether that is COVID-19, mental health, intentional violence or other issues.
Our intent in sharing information about suicides was to raise awareness of the importance of mental health, especially during the pandemic, and ensure that people in need are aware of the resources that are available in the community. It is the same reason we shared information on patients waiting too long to seek care in our emergency rooms for conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. These are serious medical conditions that should not be ignored, and treatment should not be delayed. It is important for our community to understand that mental health help is available too.
At our Walnut Creek Medical Center specifically, from March 1 to May 8, we have seen an increase in self-inflicted injuries from 8 in 2019, including two deaths, compared to 13 in 2020, including five deaths. We’ve seen an increase in assaults from 47 in 2019 to 52 in 2020. We know that there are a number of reasons for what we are experiencing at the Walnut Creek Medical Center and that it is a complex issue that can’t be explained by any one factor.
Our concern is solely for the health of the communities we serve. We will continue to actively work with our Behavioral Health Center, County Health and community organizations to increase awareness of mental health issues and provide resources to anyone in need. If you are in a crisis in Contra Costa County and need help immediately, please call 211 or 800-833-2900 or text ‘HOPE’ to 20121. We ask the community to please reach out to anyone who you think might be in need during this challenging time. Thank you.