Has the COVID Pandemic had an Effect on Suicide Rates?

Most of the Covid-induced lockdown has been released, and additional restrictions have been relaxed. However, the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic is still ongoing has an impact on mental health.

According to mental health experts, the uncertain nature of the pandemic, as well as the chaos associated with it, continues to add to mental stress, which manifests as an increase in cases of depression, anxiety, insomnia, behavioral changes, health anxiety, nightmares, and grief, among other things, all of which can contribute to suicidal thoughts and behavior.

The 10th of September is designated as World Suicide Prevention Day. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), suicide is still one of the major causes of death in the world, accounting for one out of every 100 deaths. According to WHO figures, someone takes their own life every 40 seconds. “Creating hope through action” is this year’s theme.

“A lot of people have gone through economic and financial stress, some have lost jobs, some are concerned about their future and career, some have lost loved ones, and some of them had or are currently experiencing medical problems,” Dr. Samir Parikh, Director, Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare, told IANS.

“Covid has resulted in a significant increase in mental health issues. Grief, loneliness, social isolation, major depression, financial stress, job loss, marital / family discord, alcohol/ substance dependence, feelings of hopelessness/ loneliness, and a lack of meaning in one’s life are all factors that can lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior “Dr. Sameer Malhotra, Director and Head, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, added his two cents.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Mental Health Systems in December of last year, internet news media reporting of attempted suicides and suicide deaths increased by 67.7%.

During the Covid shutdown, online news sources reported 369 cases of suicides and attempted suicides, compared to 220 reports in 2019, according to a survey by the Indian Law Society in Pune.

Covid, according to specialists, has contributed to mental health difficulties in both young and old children. Disrupted sleep-wake cycles, irritability, lifestyle concerns, and loneliness are all issues that children encounter. Many people have also engaged in intentional self-harm.

Adults are battling work-life balance, emotional stress from coordinating and fulfilling duties, marital/family strife, and alcohol/substance abuse. Due to travel constraints, the elderly feel lonely when they are separated from their children. They are unable to connect with friends and relatives in person because of physical comorbidities.

So, how do people get out of this situation?

When assistance is required, seek it. Ensure that people receive support and assistance when they express suicidal thoughts or feelings of hopelessness. Instill a spirit of hope, optimism, and enthusiasm in them.

“There is a greater need for support systems to be strengthened. We should look at providing good social and economic support to needy persons. Businesses must become more mentally health-friendly and supportive of their employees. A greater emphasis should be placed on lifestyle and mental health outcomes “According to Parikh.

He also advocated for prompt intervention, suggesting that helplines be established in various languages to make it easy for people across the country to seek assistance if needed.

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