• Shahan Mahmood

An Epidemic Within the Pandemic

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

CW: Suicide

Around the world, it has been confirmed that over one million people have passed away due to the novel Coronavirus. These stats are widely reported, headline news, and a part of most people’s daily conversations. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 deaths around the world are not the only losses due to the effects of the pandemic.

The WHO reports that one person dies due to suicide every 40 seconds, which equates to 800,000 people annually. This number has been rising since the world was put on pause. The pandemic has caused feelings of financial distress, social isolation, and increased anxiety. These feelings have a huge impact on mental health and the statistics are beginning to reflect this. A recent report released by the CDC states that at any moment, 1 in every 6 students is thinking about suicide. 1 in every 6. Picture yourself in a lecture hall with 200 students, following this knowledge, that means 33 are experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Who Does This Affect?

So, maybe you are someone who is struggling, or maybe you know someone dealing with suicidal thoughts, or maybe you lost someone to suicide. Either way, we are all affected by the subject, so why is it so widely ignored? People fear that talking about suicide is going to trigger thoughts and cause more harm than benefit. When in fact, the truth is quite the opposite. Starting a conversation about suicide is the best thing we can do to erase the stigma.

Where to Start?

Start a Conversation

If you believe that someone you know is struggling with their mental health, do not be afraid to ask. That person will likely be grateful that you started the conversation and allowed them to talk. Suicidal thoughts are serious, and beginning a conversation solidifies that.

Connect to Help

You may not have the skills or ability to carry out a full intervention in your life or the life of someone else. However, there are many resources that do have these skills and are willing to help. If someone is in crisis, you can reach out to your national suicide hotline. If someone needs to have a conversation with a person equipped in suicide prevention, you can call or text warmlines in your area.

Educate Yourself Further

There are so many resources around us working hard to educate the world on suicide prevention. One resource I recommend is LivingWorks Education. They offer training in suicide first-aid that span from how to have a safe conversation to carrying out a full intervention. If you are a student at Queen’s, Student Wellness Services is offering LivingWorks Start online training.

Remember, you are not alone. We are all in this together, so we have to start looking out for each other! :)


© 2020 On Thin Ice

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