Suicide rates are rising substantially faster than coronavirus deaths according to new modelling from mental health experts in Australia. Rates could rise 50 percent from their normal numbers, due to the social and economic impacts of coronavirus containment measures.
This would mean that the impact of the coronavirus in suicide rates could be as much as ten times higher than fatalities due directly to the virus. This could lead to an additional 1,500 deaths per year from suicide, say Australian research analysts per The Australian, with half of those taking their own lives being young people.
Australia's Sydney University’s Brain and Mind Centre created the modelling, and it is backed by the Australian Medical Association.
Global suicide deaths have already risen substantially this year, and are greater than the number of deaths resulting from the contagion itself. The suicide rates have been increasing over the past few decades, with men topping women in that fatality classification.
This year, the global number of deaths per suicide stands at around 374,206 for 2020 thus far per Worldometer, while coronavirus deaths are approximately 264,000.
If Australian researchers are correct, the impact of suicide could take a far greater toll on human lives than the coronavirus. Many mental health experts have expressed concern about the cost of repressive measures and restrictions on the global population. As people stay home and don’t interact with others, lose work, and suffer financial insecurity, mental health collapses.
Australian researchers suggest that this could create “a generational mental health crisis.” This information will be given to Health Minister Greg Hunt, and it is anticipated that he will share these results at a cabinet meeting in the coming week.
Ian Hickie, former mental health commissioner of Australia and the head of the Brain and Mind Centre, said “We are facing a situation where between an extra 750 and 1500 suicides may occur annually, this in addition to the 3000-plus lives that are lost to suicide already every year.”
It was back in March that President Donald Trump spoke of his concerns about an increase in suicide due to lockdown measures. He said that there could be "suicides by the thousands” due to the economic fallout of coronavirus prevention measures.
He told Fox News, "We have to put the country to work. You are going to lose a number of people to the flu, but you are going to lose more people by putting the country in a massive recession or depression.” He continued "You are going to lose people. You are going to have suicides by the thousands. You can't just come in and say, 'Let's close up the United States of America.'"
According to mental health experts, these deaths as a result of mental health issues are just the beginning. It is possible, say some, that “locking down whole populations in the hope of ‘flattening the curve’ was a catastrophic error, perhaps the worst policy mistake ever committed by Western governments during peacetime.”