Expected rise in suicide rates due to isolation and psychosocial distress
Following the quarantine and social distancing, isolation might lead to emotional and psychosocial distress. One of the most important consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic is the creation of social anxiety worldwide.This panic can demoralize, paralyze and introduce emotions of paranoia and fear, which in turn breed hopelessness and desperation.
K. Balakrishna, a 50-year-old Indian father-of-three became convinced that he had the virus and committed suicide in fear of infecting his family. Emily Owens, a British 19-year-old is likely the youngest suicide victim of the epidemic, as isolation and uncertainty related fears caused her to spiral into distress. In just one day, two healthcare workers,a 34-year-old nurse in Italy and a 20-year-old nurse in the United Kingdom ended their own lives, traumatized by the horrors they experienced on the frontline of the battle against this pandemic.
The fear that catching this virus generates can lead to a level of hopelessness and defeat that may be catastrophic. In one week alone, the national Crisis Text Line has handled 6,000 text conversations, twice the normal volume, in the time since the quarantine’s start.
US, EU, UK, India
HOW IS THIS ISSUE GROWING BECAUSE OF COVID-19?
Historically, disease pandemics have been associated with grave psychological consequences. Loneliness and isolation can lead to such distress, as many (especially older people) rely on strong social support and simply socializing at difficult times. Social connection has become a crucial part of the language of suicide prevention. Experts argue that the more connected people are, the less likely they are to die by suicide. Research also shows that unemployment is a risk factor for suicide and has also seen a rise due to the pandemic.
WHO ARE THE STAKEHOLDERS?
Suicidal / distressed individuals, suicide prevention helpline / hotlines / organisations
GROUPS WORKING ON THIS ISSUE
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free confidential and emotional support to people in emotional crisis 24/7 across the United States (1-800-273-8255). The Crisis Text Line is an international non-profit organization providing free, emotional support for those in need via sms messaging. Open 24/7 the line can be reached by texting HOME to 741741, 85258, 686868.