The suicide rate in Australia could shoot up by 50 per cent as the social and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic were taking a toll on people's mental health, international media reported citing experts. As of now, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the death of 97 across the Australian territory. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australians had already battled unprecedented bushfires that charred millions of hectares.
On May 7, a group of Australian mental health experts reportedly warned that the impact of COVID-19 on the country's economy could result in additional 1,500 suicides per year, in addition to the 3,000 annual average. They added that these many deaths could turn out to be above the number of deaths directly linked to the COVID-19. They further said that the suicide rate could last for five years if the current economic downturn was longer than 12 months.
Speaking to international media reporters, Ian Hickie, co-director of University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Centre said that the impact of unemployment would be greatest among the youth and those who lived in rural and regional Australia. He added that those areas would not recover quickly. In addendum to the warning, the scientists also called for immediate action, long-tern investment and modelling on mental health to address the issue.
Meanwhile, another group of researchers has found that suicide was the leading cause of over 300 “non-coronavirus deaths” reported in India due to distress triggered by the nationwide lockdown. The group, comprising public interest technologist Thejesh GN, activist Kanika Sharma and assistant professor of legal practice at Jindal Global School of Law Aman, said 338 deaths have occurred from March 19 till May 2 and they are related to lockdown.
According to the data, 80 people killed themselves due to loneliness and fear of being tested positive for the virus. The suicides are followed by migrants dying in accidents on their way back home (51), deaths associated with withdrawal symptoms (45), and those related to starvation and financial distress (36).
(Image credits: AP)