The rise in the suicide rate caused by lockdowns in Australia is predicted to exceed deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus by a factor of ten, the Australian reported Thursday.
Researchers from Sydney University’s Brain and Mind Centre forecast a 50 percent rise in the national suicide rate because of the economic and social impact of government responses to the virus, which would drive deaths to as much as ten times higher than those causes by the coronavirus itself.
Already this year global deaths by suicide are significantly higher than those attributed to the coronavirus. According to the respected Worldometers running tallies, there have already been 374,225 suicides since the start of 2020, whereas the Wuhan coronavirus has claimed 251,898 lives, Johns Hopkins University reveals.
If the Australian research holds up for other nations as well, the global suicide rate could end up far outpacing the death toll from COVID-19.
The uptick in Australian suicides will be felt over a number of years, the Australian scholars suggest, and the coronavirus response could produce “a generational mental health crisis” resulting in an extra 1500 deaths each year over the next five years.
The university forecast has received backing from the Australian Medical Association, and Health Minister Greg Hunt is expected to present the results at the national cabinet next week.
Along with the sharp rise in suicides, the research also foresees substantial economic fallout from reduced productivity from the mental health effects of unemployment, school dropouts, and family crises.
According to Ian Hickie, Australia’s former mental health commissioner and the head of the Brain and Mind Centre, the annual rate of suicide could rise from 3000 to up to 4500, with youth suicides making up nearly half that figure.
“We are facing a situation where between an extra 750 and 1500 suicides may occur annually, this in addition to the 3000-plus lives that are lost to suicide already every year,” Professor Hickie said.