Isolation and job loss are two major stressors of the Covid-19 pandemic that are causing the suicide rate in the United States to soar. In just months, the stock market crashed, millions of Americans lost their jobs, schools shut down across the country, and people were confined to their homes.
Economic stress and social isolation are two variables that contribute to suicide risk. Add a global pandemic to the mix and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Dr. Simon Rego of Montefiore Health System, in New York, explained in an online article from CNBC, that events of such an immense and broad magnitude heighten mental health disorders, such as fear, anxiety, stress, depression, and anger.
“People become at higher risk for things like greater depressive episodes or increases in problematic coping strategies like substance abuse,” said Rego. “You see some correlation data that suggests people are at greater risk for increased feelings and thoughts of suicide.”
Because health care providers are on the frontlines of the pandemic, they are especially vulnerable. While frontline workers are trained to manage their emotions during medical crises, managing their mental health afterwards can be challenging, especially when they are burning the candle from both ends, so to speak. An emergency room physician and emergency medical technician, both working the frontlines in New York City, committed suicide within 48 hours of one another. This is an eye-opening example of how stress from the Covid-19 pandemic runs deep and does not discriminate.
Experts say it is important to recognize that feelings of fear, sadness, hopelessness, and anger are normal, especially during a global crisis. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention currently features Mental Health and COVID-19 on its homepage. It offers tools and tips to enable people to connect and get help during this crisis. For more information, log onto https://afsp.org/mental-health-and-covid-19