Blog entry by Alan Chapman
Suicide Prevention, and Coronavirus/Covid-19
First, a note of clarification.
Coronavirus is a family of viruses, which occurs as common colds and flu illnesses.
Covid-19 is the disease that can develop in some people from a particular strain of coronavirus, and which has caused the panic and lockdowns, etc., globally.
Also, Green Shoots Forest School artwork was produced in 2014 for Liane Ashberry (1963-2015), who died by suicide, due to government austerity.
Suicide and Suicide Prevention
Suicide is complex.
But some aspects are very simple:
There are at least one million suicides globally each year,
of a total global deaths of about 60million people/year, from all causes,
of a global population of about 7.8billion.
WHO states c.800,000 suicides/year globally,
but suicides are hugely under-reported,
due to stigma, shame, and taboos, etc.,
and rising fast, especially in 2020.
For every suicide there are about 20 attempts.
For every attempt there are 10, 20, 50 people contemplating,
Although nobody knows because we dare not measure it properly.
DO THE MATH.
The hidden costs of mental illness are approximately 10% of GVA. This means that mental illness costs societies/economies about 10% of the value of the economies, or a nation's or city's productivity.
Suicide is rising fastest in young people and the elderly.
The coronavirus lockdowns imposed by governments are a major factor in increasing suicides.
And so it's been a tricky question to ask, let alone answer.
What sort of healthcare should be our priority?
If we believe coronavirus to be as deadly as Spanish Flu (1918-21) then it's a tricky question, because Spanish Flu killed 100million, especially young people, of a world population of 1.8bn.
But coronavirus is very much less dangerous than Spanish Flu, especially to young people.
If we believe that coronavirus will kill not many more than a million globally, of a world population of 7.8billion, and that almost all of these deaths are among the very old and/or gravely ill, then the question is much easier to answer.
As ever, for any big question, we must have clear information and open discussion, and then have consensus and explanation from a 'collective' leadership that represents everyone.
Sadly in many countries, especially in the UK, we've had none of this.
So I offer this link, as a way to increase transparency and debate.
My primary urgent interest is suicide prevention, especially in children and young people.
I'm also passionately more seriously interested in the Anthropocene, i.e., the bigger challenges that face humanity and most other life on Earth, after we understand and resolve the coronavirus destructions.