Is coronavirus pandemic and lockdown causing a rise in the number of suicides in the world?
A few months into the coronavirus pandemic and the associated forcibly-imposed lockdown on the unwilling citizens, its negative impacts are slowly unfolding. Besides the health and economic hardships due to the coronavirus, it also affected severely the mental health and well-being of the people worldwide. Relationships and marriages collapsed and the virus has led to an enormous rise in depression and suicides. Doctors suspect that the indication of the mental toll of the deadly virus will show up in the country’s suicide rates in the coming time.
Suicides and coronavirus pandemic
The COVID-19 is a slowly creeping and ongoing wave of uncertainty and is an ill-understood threat. It has far-reaching physical and psychological implications on people and also on the country’s economy and dealings on a global level. The pandemic is something people have never experienced before and hence they were not prepared to face it. It is a natural disaster against which even strong nations have failed miserably.
Most of the countries have imposed a strict and sudden lockdown on its citizens without warning. Businesses completely shut and there are no proper means of livelihood for the majority of the masses especially from the poor countries. Human beings are by nature gregarious beings and social distancing and isolation have affected them negatively. The net result of it is now slowly coming out- a rising number of deaths by suicides.
What do doctors state?
Most doctors are pre-occupied with dealing with the physical impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people. The governments too are busy in their experimental way to curtail the spread of the virus amongst their country people. In all this, the psychological impact of the situation on people is completely overlooked. Human beings are animate objects with mind and emotions. Social distancing is causing problems in them. Matthew Nock, a psychology professor at Harvard stated:
“There’s not only an increase in anxiety, but the more important piece is social isolation.” He added, “We’ve never had anything like this — and we know social isolation is related to suicide.”
“It’s a natural experiment, in a way,”
There are many people in this world who are struggling with mental issues. They were afloat with families and friends around them. But now social distancing has snatched away this help and support from them. It has left them in between on the high seas with no help in sight. And they take the bold step and decided to end their life.
Scientists conducted many studies on the suicide rates after natural calamities such as earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes. There are varied findings. While some papers reported a decrease in suicide rates, others revealed that the suicides post-calamity had increased. While there are also a few studies that state that there has been no spike in the suicide rates after the disaster. They remained the same as before the calamity. This implied that the calamity did not cause any rise in suicide rates.
More on doctors’ opinions
How coronavirus will impact is anybody’s guess now. Dr. Marianne Goodman, a psychiatrist at the Department of Veterans Affairs, in the Bronx, feels:
“I think during the actual crisis, suicide will be lower,”
“And once the longer-term economic impact is felt, I suspect, suicide will be rising again.”
Many patients who battled mental issues before are much stronger now. They feel that their experience with anxiety and depression in the past has now made them bold to face it all. Therefore, they are less likely to commit suicide now than those who were otherwise normal before.