The coronavirus shutdown ashes are to continue revealing devastating consequences as months and even years go by. In Tennessee, more people are now committing suicide than are dying of coronavirus. And it remains unclear what our plan to “flatten such curve” might be.
“Thus far, our reaction to COVID-19 has been to sacrifice the global economy,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs via Tennessee Star. “The truth is: a sick economy produces sick people.”
Jacobs is right. The suicide rate is a result of catastrophic job losses which are assumed to be followed by a dire job market. He calls the new numbers “utterly shocking” and questions whether the draconian shutdown was the correct resolution.
“Last year, our medical examiner performed autopsies for 199 confirmed or suspected suicides from across the region, with 83 of those coming from Knox County. Over the past 48 hours, that office has now examined nine suspected suicides, eight of which are from Knox County alone. For Knox County, that’s almost ten percent of last year’s total number in the past two days alone,” Jacobs added.
The director of the Knox County Health Department, Dr. Martha Buchanan, held a press conference last Friday where she discussed checking in on those who are struggling. At times, Dr. Buchanan appeared to nearly crumble into tears herself.
It’s not just Tennessee that’s experiencing a suicide crisis, it’s a national-scale crisis. See Tuscon, Arizona, where they now have an average daily suicide rate to watch. In Tuscon, the health department says that it’s mostly vulnerable populations taking their own lives, such as those living in poverty, poverty-stricken families with school-age children, minorities, domestic violence victims, and the recently unemployed.
“If we see a spike, in a month or in a week or in a day, we’re going to investigate it,” Program Manager with the Pima County Health Department Mark Person said. “If we think it’s something that is alert worthy, we will send it out in hopes that providers will be able to do something in the moment to stop it.”
In Rolling Meadows, Illinois, a family is trying to raise awareness after an independent home contractor lost all his jobs and took his own life.
“I got a phone call from the Rolling Meadows Police department for a well-being check,” Jae Bae said of his step-brother.
“The loss of work, being alone, brings about a lot of different feelings, we don’t want anyone else to have to struggle and experience loss of a family member by suicide, and we want people to reach out, just connect,” Jae’s wife, Kellie Bae said.
The national suicide rate is unlikely near its peak. As self-isolation continues to take a toll on people, finances will equally run dry. Many people feel unsafe given crime is about to rise and they never prepped a SHTF plan. After a time, people will fall off unemployment, divorce rates will increase, and an elevation in suicide rates likely correspond. This means we’re in for a long battle.
All the while, power-hungry governors continue their politicization of coronavirus shutdowns. Many show little empathy for the catastrophic job losses. Many people feel shutdowns will go infinitely, which isn’t unreasonable to consider given many governors shrug off any notion of hard reopen dates.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
Please visit the CDC website for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information.
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases