Mental Health and Suicide During a Pandemic

Headline Roundup May 25th, 2020

Suicides, drug overdoses and other so-called "deaths of despair" have emerged as possible consequences of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in addition to the virus itself. Many experts say it's too early to determine whether the pandemic is creating a legitimate increase in these deaths, but most also warn of the various adverse psychological effects one can experience in such uncertain times.

Mental health has been the focus of widespread coronavirus news coverage, as well as the pandemic's impact on the opioid crisis and other preexisting public heath concerns. Many reports, particularly from right-rated sources, focused on calls to end shelter-in-place orders from a California doctor who cited an "unprecedented" number of recent COVID-19-linked suicides.

Mental Health and Suicide During a Pandemic

From the Center
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COVID-19 has brought a raft of intense new stressors while removing many of the resources people have traditionally used to cope with stress. Millions of people have lost their jobs; some have lost their homes or businesses. Families cooped up together because of stay-at-home orders are chafing under the stress, which may increase the risk of intimate partner violence and child abuse. Disrupted routines and the potential for contracting a life-threatening disease may be exacerbating preexisting problems such as mental illness or substance use. At the same time, physical distancing...

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From the Right
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The doctor in charge of a Bay Area, Calif. trauma center said the state should end its lockdown orders after an “unprecedented” spike in suicide attempts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve never seen numbers like this, in such a short period of time,” Dr. Mike deBoisblanc, head of trauma at John Muir Medical Center, told local station ABC7. “I mean, we’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks.” He added that he thinks “it’s time” to end the state shutdown.

“I think, originally, this was...

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From the Left
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WHEN THE PANDEMIC seized New York, Dr. Lorna Breen, a 49-year-old emergency room doctor who worked at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center, found herself in the trenches alongside physicians toiling through 18-hour days and sleeping in hospital hallways.

When Breen contracted COVID-19 herself, she took a week and a half off, only to suffer from exhaustion once she went back to work. Her family brought her to stay with them in Virginia, where Breen seemed detached, according to her father. She was also deeply disturbed, he...

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