Lockdown measures are causing an “international epidemic” in child suicide and self-harm, and experts have warned things are only going to get worse.
Government attempts to control the spread of coronavirus through harsh restrictive measures are proving to be detrimental worldwide, with increasing reports of an alarming rise in children under 18-years suffering a new mental health crisis.
The Daily Telegraph recently revealed the number of suicide and self-harming teens presenting to emergency departments (ED) in New South Wales increased by almost half since the beginning of the pandemic.
According to the report, suicidal teens are flooding state emergency departments, with “the number of 12-17 year olds presenting to the ED with self-harm or suicidal ideation [increasing] by 47 per cent in the year to July 2021 compared to 2019.”
During that period, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network (Randwick and Westmead), St Vincent’s, and Northern Sydney, saw an increase of “between 42 per cent and 221 per cent (St Vincent’s) in 12-17 year olds presenting to ED with self-harm or suicidal ideation,” the report states.
In June, data from the Kids Helpline revealed children as young as five were seeking help from self-harm and suicidal concerns amid excessive lockdown measures in Victoria.
The Financial Review reported at the time: “Emergency interventions to protect young people in Victoria form suicide and child abuse have skyrocketed by 184 per cent over the past six months, as the state grapples with the mental health consequences of repeated COVID-19 lockdowns.”
Teens were said to be the most at risk, with youth aged 13-18 accounting for 75 per cent of the total crisis interventions from December 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021, the data revealed.
The children’s helpline reportedly received 13,000 suicide related contacts in 2020, with 1,150 callers presenting with an immediate suicide issue, while more than one-third of contacts required intervention from emergency services involved suicide.
Tony Fitzgerald, Kids Helpline virtual service manager told the Herald Sun, calls soared during the pandemic period, and the demand has continued through 2021.
“There are long-term effects from last year,” he said, “even with the youngest kids who are struggling to cope with their anxiety on top of everyday pressures.”
The situation is not unique to Australia. In the United Kingdom, a study carried out by researchers at the University of Bristol, University of York, University of Liverpool, and University College London, found that during the pandemic period five times more children died by suicide than from COVID-19.
According to the study, 25 children and young people under 18 years of age died with COVID-19 between March 2020 and February 2021, while 124 children committed suicide during the same period, prompting fears that not enough is being done to deal with the psychological side-effects of repeated lockdowns.
Dr David Greenhorn of the emergency department at the Bradford Royal Infirmary in northern England told AP, the hospital used to treat one or two children per week for mental health emergencies, including suicide attempts.
“The average now is closer to one or two per day, sometimes involving children as young as eight,” he said.
“This is an international epidemic, and we are not recognizing it,” Dr Greenhorn said.
In the United States, the CDC reported: “During 2020, the proportion of mental health-related emergency department (ED) visits among adolescents aged 12-17 years increased 31% compared with that during 2019.”
Further, “In May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, ED visits for suspected suicide attempts began to increase among adolescents aged 12-17 years, especially girls.
“During February 21-March 20, 2021, suspected suicide attempt ED visits were 50.6% higher among girls aged 12-17 years than during the same period in 2019; among boys aged 12-17 years, suspected suicide attempt ED visits increased 3.7%.”
In France, Dr Richard Delorme, head of the psychiatric unit at the Robert Debre pediatric hospital told the Associated Press: “We are very surprised by the intensity of the desire to die among children who may be 12 or 13 years old.
“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,” he said.
According to the piece, “Doctors elsewhere report similar surges, with children — some as young as 8 — deliberately running into traffic, overdosing on pills and otherwise self-harming.”
Adding further that “in Japan, child and adolescent suicides also hit record levels in 2020, according to the Education Ministry.”
Noting the piece during a senate testimony, Brad Polumbo, Opinion Editor at the Foundation for Economic Education said, we’re sacrificing children’s lives by subjecting them to mental health crises from seemingly endless lockdowns.
None of this should come as any surprise to our politicians and, so called, health experts. Doctors and authorities from various fields have long been sounding the alarm the world over.
Last year, doctors from Harvard University, Oxford University, and Stanford University Medical School authored joint declaration, warning government lockdown policies would have a devastating impact on people’s physical and mental health.
The Great Barrington Declaration, which has since been signed by close to 15,000 medical and public health scientists, over 43,500 medical practitioners, and almost 800,000 concerned citizens, warn government measures will lead to greater excess mortality, with the deterioration of mental health among the noted causes.
Little wonder Professor Mark Woolhouse, epidemiologist at Edinburgh University and adviser to the UK Government, described the attempts to control the virus through lockdown measures a “monumental mistake.”
“Lockdown was a panic measure,” the professor said. “And I believe history will say trying to control COVID-19 through lockdowns was a monumental mistake on a global scale.”
That lockdowns have been a largely harmful method of attempting to combat the virus is becoming increasingly evident, especially given the accumulating evidence that Sweden’s loose approach was “mostly right.”
As John Miltimore, Managing Editor of the Foundation for Economic Education noted: “Even a year ago, it was clear the hyperbolic claims about ‘the Swedish catastrophe’ were false; just ask Elon Musk (also see: here, here, and here). But a year later the evidence is overwhelming that Sweden got the pandemic mostly right. Sweden’s overall mortality rate in 2020 was lower than most of Europe and its economy suffered far less. Meanwhile, today Sweden is freer and healthier than virtually any other country in Europe.
“As much of the world remains gripped in fear and nations devise new restrictions to curtail basic freedoms, Sweden remains a vital and shining reminder that there is a better way.”
While lockdown-advocates have been quick to dismiss Sweden’s method by pointing to the country’s neighbouring nations where deaths are lower, such as Norway and Finland, Miltimore elsewhere notes that these countries “embraced policies even less restrictive than Sweden’s for most of the pandemic.”
“When people compare Sweden unfavourably to Finland and Norway to dismiss its laissez-faire policy, they are drawing the opposite conclusion from what the data point really reveals,” Miltimore said. “Yes, Finland and Norway have lower deaths than Sweden–but they have actually been more laissez-faire than their neighbor for the majority of the pandemic.”
Lockdown advocates may be well intended, they may be entirely unaware of the harm such harsh measures inflict on the people, especially vulnerable children, but the fact is becoming increasingly clear: Lockdowns are not a means of avoiding potential deaths. In fact, they’re triggering an epidemic all of their own.
Well did Professor Woolhouse say, in this case, “the cure was worse than the disease.”