The pandemic’s shadow harvest – Will the economic and psychological costs of covid-19 increase suicides? | International

The pandemic’s shadow harvest – Will the economic and psychological costs of covid-19 increase suicides? | International

Oct 5th 2020WHEN AMERICA’S Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) carried out a survey this summer, it found that one in ten of the 5,400

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WHEN AMERICA’S Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) carried out a survey this summer, it found that one in ten of the 5,400 respondents had seriously considered suicide in the previous month—about twice as many who had thought of taking their lives in 2018. For young adults, aged 18 to 24, the proportion was an astonishing one in four.

The survey, published in August, was one of a growing number of warnings about the toll that the pandemic is taking on the mental health of people. For legions, the coronavirus has upended or outright eliminated work, schooling and religious services. On top of that, lockdowns and other types of social distancing have aggravated loneliness and depression for many.

But are people acting on suicidal thoughts? It is too early to be sure. Almost all countries publish suicide statistics with a lag of a year or two; and in recent years, suicide has been declining in most, with America a notable exception. Information from police, hospitals, coroners, courts and others must be collected and carefully studied, in part because some…



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