Increase in Suicides Among Bay Area Residents during COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Directive

According to health workers at the John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek (located 25 miles east from San Francisco), many of the suicides were young people who had been experiencing unprecedented levels of stress due to job loss and isolation during a period of several months of quarantine.

Kacey Hansen told KGO-TV that “socialized isolation is valuable.” They intend to die. Most people will make a gesture, which we call a cry for help. Now, we’re seeing something a little different. It’s upsetting.”

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Researchers found that the pandemic had a negative impact on the mental health of many people, but especially children and young adults. According to Athenahealth, the number of children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD for a first time increased by 66 percent between March and April.

Walnut Creek Hospital has seen an increase in suicides, which coincides with the Contra Costa County Shelter-in-Place order to combat the coronavirus. The hospital did not reveal the number of people who committed suicide, but a physician told the news outlet that the figure is “unprecedented.”

Dr. Mike deBoisblanc said, “We’ve never seen such numbers in such a short time.” “I mean, we’ve seen the equivalent of a year’s worth of suicide attempts in just four weeks.”

Contra Costa County Disaster Heart reported that calls to its hotline have increased, but not significantly.

Tom Tamura told the station that people had been disconnected from their traditional social support networks — churches, schools, book clubs — you name it. “Generally speaking, the vast majority of people say that they feel better after calling and getting the resources they need.”

DeBoisblanc said he believes it’s time for officers reopening the county to address the psychological implications of prolonged isolation.

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He said: “I think, at first, that this [the order to shelter in place] was put into place to flatten out the curve and ensure hospitals had the resources to treat COVID patients,” he explained. “We now have the resources to do this, but our other group health is suffering.”


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