There is a very dark side to these lockdowns, namely higher levels of anxiety, depression, suicide, poverty and starvation.
In this blog I will explore some shocking reports that are coming out and also what we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones during this challenging time.
Mental Health is Rapidly Declining
A survey conducted by the CDC in June found that one in four young adults “seriously considered suicide” in the month before they were surveyed, and more than 40% of all respondents said they were struggling with mental health or substance abuse. Multiple suicide prevention hotlines have also reported a spike in their callers, with as high a increase as 80%, which has been described as “unprecedented“.
In the United Kingdom, 43% of psychiatrists surveyed reported an increase in urgent and emergency cases following the lockdown. 45% claimed that there was a reduction in their routine appointments, sparking fears of a “tsunami” of mental illnesses on the rise, and the Office for National Statistics reported already back in March that almost half of the population (49.6%) aged 16 and above have experienced “high” levels of anxiety. Correspondingly, in June they found close to one in five adults (19.2%) in Great Britain were likely to be experiencing some form of depression – which is nearly double the usual rate.
In India, after a spike in Google searches inquiring about suicide were observed, the Suicide Prevention India Foundation (SPIF) interviewed mental health professionals across the country to get a pulse on what was taking place. More than 70% of the therapists interviewed reported an increase in the number of patients with suicidal ideation after the pandemic began. Nearly two-thirds of them also noted that people who had done self-harm had risen too. About 60% of them observed relapses in people who were formerly recovering.
A recent study published by JAMA Network Open on how children in China handled the lockdown showed that nearly 25% of them experienced depression and suicide attempts had more than doubled.
In South Korea, Government statistics show that the number of people who engaged in intentional self-harm soared by almost 36%. In fact, a record 595,724 people have been treated for depression, and suicide rates have likewise spiked.
Why is this Happening?
Based on the available research and evidence, we know that social isolation accentuates mental disease and suicide ideation. We also have decades of research showing us that whenever unemployment goes up so does anxiety, depression and suicide. Considering that we are currently faced with an unemployment crisis worldwide and an unprecedented level of “social distancing,” it’s fairly obvious as to why mental disease and suicide ideation are skyrocketing. There are also other factors to consider, such as a WHO survey that claims lockdowns have disrupted critical mental health services in 93 percent of countries worldwide, or a recent study that shows media coverage of the “pandemic” itself can be toxic and harmful to mental health. Based on the available scientific evidence, however, the unemployment appears to be the greatest threat and when we look around the world we should take this threat very seriously.
In the United States, for example, more than 22 million people reportedly lost their jobs within just one month of lockdown orders being imposed, which was subsequently described as “the entire country being hit by a hurricane” and “by far the worst string of layoffs on record.” In April, it was reported that a record 30.3 million people were seeking unemployment aid. According to an estimate from Nicholas Bloom, an Economics Professor from Stanford University, around 40% of these “temporary” layoffs will likely be permanent. Unsurprisingly, this is having a terrible impact on the mental health of the population.
Europe has likewise been hit hard by lockdown policies with millions and millions of people out of work. In fact, the European Commission’s summer 2020 economic forecast predicts that the EU economy will shrink by 8.3% in 2020, which would mark the deepest recession in the EU’s history. CNN claims the UK economy is headed for its worst crash in more than 300 years. In Spain, unemployment has been projected to go all the way up to 20% (1 out of every 5 citizens) and stay there until at least 2022. What is particularly concerning, however, is the high level of youth unemployment in Europe (15-24 year olds), sparking fears of a “lockdown generation” that struggle for the rest of their lives because of this major event.
Poorer Countries Are Getting Hit The Worst
Poorer countries have been hit even harder, since they lack much of the safe guards and infrastructure that developed nations have. In fact, a study from the United Nations’ University estimates that as many as half a billion people — or 8% of the total human population — are now being forced into poverty because of lockdown associated measures worldwide. If that’s not concerning enough, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme claims that the disruption associated with these lockdown measures has caused a hunger crisis of “biblical proportions” that could result in an additional 130 million people being pushed to starvation. Both of these reports are obviously based on estimates, but should we really trivialize the likelihood of half a billion people being needlessly pushed into poverty or 130 million being pushed to starvation over a virus that is clearly not deadly for the overwhelming majority of society?
Are The Lockdowns Justified?
Unlike every other person that I have debated on this topic, my understanding is not exclusively an echo and knee-jerk regurgitation of what I read in the media, or heard from the authorities, I have actually sat down and sifted through MASSIVE amounts of research on this topic.
The biggest problem that I have personally encountered, is that people are terribly misinformed about what’s going on. This is for many different reasons that I cannot summarize in just a few paragraphs for you. But for those interested, I put together a 5 hour presentation (alt link HERE in case of censorship) that explores that topic, and this “pandemic” as a whole, in meticulous detail that I highly recommend looking into. All sources and citations have been listed where logically needed to fact check.
As you will find, these lockdowns are not being predominated by authentic science, but mostly by mass psychology in the form of fearmongering and hysteria.
What Can We Do To Protect Ourselves & Our Loved Ones During This Challenging Time?
Fortunately, and unfortunately, I have dealt with anxiety, depression, unemployment, poverty and suicide ideation so I can potentially be of some help for those of you navigating this unchartered territory at this time.
If it is help with mild symptoms of depression and anxiety, I recommend reading a blog I wrote HERE, but if it is more serious symptoms I recommend reading a blog I wrote HERE.
Beyond the guidance given in those write ups, the key to creating positive change is in awakening public perception to the dark side of these lockdowns guys, and presenting a more fair, balanced, and honest picture of what’s taking place here. So please have the courage to share this blog, and you can also read another blog I wrote HERE and watch the very detailed presentation I gave HERE if you earnestly want to learn more.
It should also be said that if you are unemployed and financially struggling to the point that your health and wellbeing are in serious jeopardy, don’t be too proud to ask for help from family or friends. That is something that took me a long time to figure out in my life, and a near death experience to accept. If you are like me, I understand that you don’t want to make your problems anyone else’s, and I realize you don’t want to be a burden to others, but when you keep your struggles to yourself to the point that your mental health begins to deteriorate — in extreme cases culminating in suicide — you give your friends and family a much greater burden to shoulder for the rest of their lives. It’s not weakness to ask for help, it’s weakness to be too proud or ashamed to. If you do not have someone near by then please reach out to social services or others online.
If you are in a position of stability and relative comfort, and want to help, now is the time to take action and get involved. If you see someone that is hungry, buy them some food; if you get the opportunity to open the door for someone, take it; if you have any unresolved drama or conflict with loved ones or friends, put your pride aside and start some dialogue; if you are lonely (but responsible) consider going down to the animal shelter and rescuing a life; and seek out local organizations that are trying to make a positive difference.
We are in this crazy world together, and the Light that is Humanity still burns bright within many, and always burns brighter when we stand together.
Featured Image Credit: Deposit Photos
Written by Gavin Nascimento, Founder of aNewKindOfHuman.com
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- Nordt C, Warnke I, Seifritz E, Kawohl W. Modelling suicide and unemployment: a longitudinal analysis covering 63 countries 2000-2011. Lancet Psychiatry. (2015) 2:239–45. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(14)00118-7
- Barr B, Taylor-Robinson D, Scott-Samuel A, McKee M, Stuckler D. Suicides associated with the 2008-2010 economic recession in England: time trend analysis. Br Med J. (2012) 345:5142. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e5142
- Gerdtham U-G, Johannesson M. A note on the effect of unemployment on mortality. J Health Eco. (2003) 22:505–18. doi: 10.1016/S0167-6296(03)00004-3
- Breuer C. Unemployment and suicide mortality: evidence from regional panel data in europe. Health Eco. (2015) 24:936–50. doi: 10.1002/hec.3073
- Unemployment associated with 50% higher risk of death in heart-failure patients. Cardiovasc J Afr. 2017;28(3):200.
- Gronewold J, Kropp R, Lehmann N on behalf of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study Investigative Group, et al Association of social relationships with incident cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality Heart 2020;106:1317-1323.