The suicide rate in Colorado has dropped 40% during COVID quarantine

From the Denver Post:

Colorado recorded a 40% decrease in suicides in March and April as social-distancing policies aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus kept residents home, according to provisional death-certificate data from the state health department.

The data helps paint a complex picture of the mental and emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. While suicides are down from 2019 levels, Colorado Crisis Services saw an almost 48% increase calls in March and April compared to last year, with most callers seeking help for anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation.

Donald Trump (and all of his parrot pundits, by extension) have shamelessly exploited the threat of increased suicides as a reason to “re-open the economy” sooner. This rang hollow before, as it was an excuse often given by people who had never seemed overly concerned about suicide, addiction, or mental health beyond the generic self-serving platitudes that virtue-signal their bare-minimum humanity. Now, it seems like an even more disgusting excuse to profit on the back of human lives.

The Denver Post article does quote from a few experts, who share their possible theories on why this might be happening. Anxieties are, of course, running high, as evidenced by the jump in calls to crisis hotlines. But some people think that this unprecedented crisis may actually be helping to create a sense of community; seeing so many other people so visibly struggling might put things into perspective for some people. Another theory is that people at risk for suicide might be too overwhelmed by the adrenaline of day-to-day survival — figuring out the logistics of simply things like groceries — that it might be temporarily suppressing their emotional pain.

This only applies to Colorado so far, but it could very well extrapolate outwards to the rest of the country. I’ll keep an eye out for the numbers.

But if you are struggling, and overwhelmed with suicidal thoughts, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or the Samaritans at 877-870-HOPE. It’s OK to hve a hard time; it’s OK to be down on yourself; just don’t keep it in. Please.

Suicides in Colorado dropped 40% during first 2 months of coronavirus pandemic — but calls to crisis line spiked [Jessica Seaman / Denver Post]

Image: Guillaume Paumier, CC-BY.