Can we afford more lockdowns with our growing mental health crises?

There appears to be a surging mental health crises in the USA & Europe

“The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been associated with mental health challenges related to the morbidity and mortality caused by the disease and to mitigation activities, including the impact of physical distancing and stay-at-home orders.” – United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] August 14, 2020.

For months, Tucker Carleson has been suggesting that lockdowns and school closures would lead to a rise in youth suicides. He is, perhaps, the only major national media figure who has been talking about this. Now, half a year after Carleson started predicting that lockdowns would damage the mental health of Americans, we still are not hearing much from the national media. However, the issue can no longer be ignored.

On December 16th, the CEOs of 14 US Mental Health organizations issued a joint statement saying “The mental health crisis that has evolved along with the Covid pandemic is unprecedented. The levies have broken on an overwhelmed system of care and state leadership must move to address mental health care as an integral aspect of their pandemic response.” The group of CEOs say that half of Americans are now struggling with mental health issues.

Last month, the Ohio Department of Health began sounding the alarm that youth suicide was surging at an alarming rate. There has also been a rise in suicides among the elderly in Ohio. “Suicide is the leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 10-14 and the second-leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 15-24,” Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton.

Now the United Kingdom Office for National Statistics [ONS] is saying that rates of depression have doubled in one year. 9.7% of Brits were depressed during a nine-month span leading up to when lockdowns began in March of 2020. By June of 2020, they say 19.2% of Brits were experiencing depression.

The British mental health non-profit Mind says that the UK is in a “mental health emergency.” Mind CEO Paul Farmer says “We know from our coronavirus survey of around 16,000 people that over half of adults and two-thirds of young people said their mental health got worse during the pandemic, with many developing problems for the first time.” Mind says that over 80% of people aged 18-24 experience loneliness during Britain’s lockdowns. British non-profits Papyrus UK and Samaritans both report that calls to their suicide prevention hotlines started surging last November when lockdown measures were re-instituted.

Meanwhile, the lockdowns have reduced the ability of Mind to provide free mental health services. They are funded by 166 charity shops in England and Wales. These shops have been closed for large portions of 2020. While the British government is giving them employee retention money, they still have to pay rent on all the properties while not be allowed to sell anything.

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