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The Rising Concern Over Suicides from Coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic has shut down the nation for several weeks now.
While the stay-at-home orders and social distancing protocols are helping to prevent the physical devastation from COVID-19, the pandemic is starting to take its toll on people who may not have been infected with the virus in a different way.
If you are struggling to manage your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone. Social isolation, financial problems, uncertainty surrounding the future, and grief over lost loved ones are all leading to high levels of coronavirus anxiety and stress. Many people are doing their best to get by, but not everyone is coping so well. As a result of the pandemic, many fear that we may see an increase in suicides from coronavirus and some believe that we may already be seeing it.
Current & Future Suicides from COVID-19Unfortunately, suicides from coronavirus are a rising concern as the pandemic continues. Queens in New York City is just one small example of this rise. Reports say that in 2019 there were 17 suicides from January 1st to April 29th, but in 2020 there have been 16 alone starting in mid-March, when the pandemic began to take its toll on the city, to the end of April.1
People quarantined alone, healthcare workers, patients and their loved ones may be seeing the greatest mental health impact from the pandemic. In particular, many fear that healthcare workers and first responders are at high risk of suicide. They are the ones seeing the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic firsthand day in and day out. Seeing the struggling patients combined with the long and stressful hours is already taking its toll on many. There have been several reports of front-line healthcare workers committing suicide during the coronavirus pandemic, but exact numbers are unknown.2 As the coronavirus pandemic continues, we will likely continue to see an increase in these numbers and be better able to quantify the pandemic’s impact on mental health.
Preventing More COVID-19 SuicidesWith the rise in coronavirus suicides, it is becoming more and more apparent that COVID-19 is drastically affecting both people’s physical and mental health. With the virus still spreading and what appears to be a long time until life goes back to normal, we will continue to see the negative mental health impacts of the pandemic for months to come, but there is a way to fight back.
If you or someone you care about has suicidal thoughts or actions, get help immediately. Do not wait. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is one valuable resource for people struggling with suicide idealization.
Many public officials and mental health professionals are also trying to combat and prepare for the negative mental health impact of the pandemic. Some states have started to put programs in place to help those contemplating suicide or struggling with mental health at this time. One example is New York state that has recently established a toll-free mental health hotline. On a national level, the government has set aside $425 million for substance abuse and mental health programs as well.3
Now is also the time to reach out to those you know who may be struggling. While you may not be able to get in physical contact with them. Try to reach out virtually to those who are quarantined alone, have a history of mental health issues, or who fall into one of the high-risk suicide groups with more exposure to the virus.
You do not have to be suicidal to get help either. Mental health disorders can drastically impact a person’s life even if they believe they are managing okay. Our Boca residential mental health facility works with patients on improving and managing their mental health, so they can lead happier and healthier lives.
Take control of your mental health and your life. Whether you are looking for help for yourself or help for a loved one, we are here. To learn more about our programs at Banyan Mental Health, call us today at 888-280-4763.
- Daily News - Suicides in Queens rise since mid-March compared to 2019 as concerns about mental health grow during coronavirus pandemic
- CNN - Stress on health care workers is creating 'second victims' in the coronavirus pandemic
- MarketWatch - How New York is battling a second crisis alongside COVID-19: Mental health