With 2020 in the rearview mirror and ongoing pandemic restrictions ever-present ahead of us, people around the world are grappling with the pain of a “lost year” and wondering what comes next.
Doctors are warning, however, that children are experiencing the brunt of that pain resulting from losing their way of life to lockdowns—something that has lead to a startling “international epidemic” of child suicide.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Dr. David Greenhorn, who works in the emergency department at England’s Bradford Royal Infirmary, said that the number of mental health crises he has seen, including suicide attempts, went from a couple per week before the pandemic to several per day.
“This is an international epidemic, and we are not recognizing it,” Greenhorn said. “In an 8-year-old’s life, a year is a really, really, really long time. They are fed up. They can’t see an end to it.”
Dr. Richard Delorme, head of the psychiatric department at one of France’s largest children’s hospitals, gave a similar explanation to AP.
Although they may lack the language or understanding to express it, Delorme said, the pandemic is directly related to the harrowing experiences of these children: “They don’t say, ‘Yes, I ended up here because of the coronavirus.’ But what they tell you about is a chaotic world, of ‘Yes, I’m not doing my activities anymore,’ ‘I’m no longer doing my music,’ ‘Going to school is hard in the mornings,’ ‘I am having difficulty waking up,’ ‘I am fed up with the mask.’”
“We are very surprised by the intensity of the desire to die among children who may be 12 or 13 years old,” Delorme said, noting that his hospital went from seeing roughly 20 suicide attempts per month involving patients 15 or younger to twice that amount. “We sometimes have children of 9 who already want to die. And it’s not simply a provocation or a blackmail via suicide. It is a genuine wish to end their lives.”
It’s not just children who have been stricken by this new mental health pandemic. The US Centers for Disease Control reported that a staggering 25 percent of young adults considered suicide during the lockdowns.
“Government restrictions that would’ve been unthinkable two years ago have been forced through amid the fear and uncertainty that the pandemic’s outbreak understandably wrought,” Brad Polumbo wrote for the Foundation for Economic Education on the tragic side-effects of lockdowns. “Advocates undoubtedly hoped to save lives. Yet government restrictions have proven dubious in their effectiveness, with both studies and real-world examples demonstrating little clear relationship between lockdown stringency and COVID deaths.”
It’s time to give an honest, unbiased, lound and clear evaluation of these public health orders that have led to so much “collateral damage.” As Nobel-prize-winning economist Milton Friedman said, Polumbo cited in his article, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”
Skyrocketing rates of elementary school-aged children attempting suicide is an unacceptable result.
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