By Gabe Sanders Ph.D., NSCA-CSCS
The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred many secondary issues that are not directly related to the disease itself; however, these secondary issues are related to the restrictions placed on people. These government-mandated restrictions have severely disrupted many hard-working people’s lives and negatively impacted their finances for years to come.
As a result, an increased risk of suicide has been recorded as a secondary side effect of the COVID pandemic in the scientific literature. While many epidemiologists and health practitioners are focused on the virus itself (and rightfully so), little attention has been focused to help people suffering from the fallout of the virus and government-mandated shutdowns.
While suicide risk increases with economic stress and financial insecurity, there are small groups of health practitioners to direct their attention to individuals who have lost their jobs or small businesses. Coping strategies for these individuals are paramount as research indicates that drug and alcohol abuse also increases during times of economic distress. Interestingly, research appears to indicate that suicide rates remain elevated, regardless of gender and alcohol-related suicide is strongly associated with poor economic factors.
Ask for help or offer help
As a society moving forward, a good recommendation during the COVID pandemic would be to ask people if they need help! Help can come in many ways and if you are financially able, hire a local skilled tradesman to do some work at your house or shop at your local small business for clothes, tools, or crafts that you may be interested in.
We should all take responsibility during this time to help other people even if the virus is not directly altering their health, the fallout from the virus may be wreaking havoc on their day-to-day life.
In closing, reach out to people you know to help your community and the people in it.
* Need help, Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- Available 24 hrs. 1-800-273-8255
Classen, Timothy J., and Richard A. Dunn. “The effect of job loss and unemployment duration on suicide risk in the United States: A new look using mass‐layoffs and unemployment duration.” Health economics 21.3 (2012): 338-350.
Crayne, Matthew P. “The traumatic impact of job loss and job search in the aftermath of COVID-19.” Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy (2020).
Kerr, William C., et al. “Economic recession, alcohol, and suicide rates: comparative effects of poverty, foreclosure, and job loss.” American journal of preventive medicine 52.4 (2017): 469-475.
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