Suicide Awareness Amid Pandemic Depression

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. One week was too small to contain it’s importance. Suicide is not something people like to talk about, it is sometimes referred to as an “accident” because somehow it’s easier to process that way.

Not talking about suicide, or calling it an “accident” keeps it hidden. You have to talk about it. You have to reach out for help, and be willing to listen if someone reaches out to you for help. When someone is hurting, in pain, sometimes talking about it is what makes the difference. Why do you think they make hotlines? For those in pain to reach out and talk to someone who will listen without judgment.

In this New York Times article by Jan Hoffman from August 13, 2020, Young Adults Report Rising Levels of Anxiety and Depression in Pandemic, “The collateral damage from the pandemic continues: Young adults, as well as Black and Latino people of all ages, describe rising levels of anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts, and increased substance abuse, according to findings reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The effects of the coronavirus outbreaks were felt most keenly by young adults ages 18 to 24. According to Mark Czeisler, a psychology researcher at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, nearly 63 percent had symptoms of anxiety or depression that they attributed to the pandemic and nearly a quarter had started or increased their abuse of substances, including alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs, to cope with their emotions. “It’s ironic that young adults who are at lower risk than older adults of severe illness caused by Covid-19 are experiencing worse mental health symptoms,” said Mr. Czeisler.

In this article from Hartford Health Care it states “while COVID-19 cases spike around the country, more than a third of Americans report related depression and anxiety.” The article goes on to state, “the pandemic, according to the data, affects people ages 18-29 more, with 42 percent reporting anxiety and 36 percent depression. The second most-affected age group was people 30-39, with 34 percent reporting anxiety and 28 percent depression.”

The pandemic has hit parts of the population differently along racial lines. Both in how the pandemic has affected us with the infection and mortality rate, as well as the events in the world have unfolded with the backdrop of the pandemic.

Staff Writer Deanna Pan, from her article of September 7, 2020 in the Boston Globe, Black Americans Suffering disproportionately from COVID-19 face a mounting mental health crisis wrote, “Black and Hispanic Americans – as well as young adults and essential workers – appear to be bearing the brunt of this seismic health crisis. More than 18 percent of Hispanic and 15 percent of Black respondents reported having suicidal thoughts…” The article further states, “With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the [spotlight on] systemic racism, these conditions have exacerbated the psychological issues that people of color have faced historically,” said Martin Pierre, a staff psychologist at Brandeis University and co-owner of Ashmont Counseling Services in Dorchester.

I’ve said before, I watch a lot of news and without being political, President Trump has often said “The Chinese Virus” when he referred to Covid-19. I bring that up because the next article has figures for how anxiety and depression affected Asian Americans since the pandemic hit. We were all struggling with living our new stressful normal during the pandemic, then the video dropped of George Floyd. Eight minutes and forty-six seconds of a cop kneeling on George Floyd’s neck crushing the life out of him.

Depression and anxiety spiked among black Americans after George Floyd’s death is an article written by Alyssa Flowers and William Wan, from June 12, 2020 in the Washington Post. “Within a week, anxiety and depression among African Americans shot to higher rates than experienced by any other racial or ethnic group, with 41 percent screening positive for at least one of those symptoms, data from the Census Bureau shows. The findings — from a survey launched by the federal government originally intended to study the effects of the novel coronavirus — indicate that the recent unrest, demonstrations and debate have exacted a disproportionate emotional and mental toll on black and Asian Americans, even as rates of anxiety and depression remain relatively flat among white Americans and decreased among Latin Americans.”

Asian Americans have seen a rise in hate crimes and harassment and their businesses have been targeted by vandals and looters, and Asian doctors and nurses have been abused and physically attacked even as they help the United States fight the coronavirus.