The coronavirus pandemic has worsened mental health issues, especially in the younger generation, mental health in US expert told a press briefing on September 15. Isha Weerasinghe, who leads mental health work for Centre for Law and Social policy asserted that its particularly difficult for people of colour. Elaborating further, she said that poor support in several communities along with the COVID-19 pandmeic hasmade it worse.
Citing anti-Asian violence and bullying, she said that lack of connectedness, economic hardships, increased stress due to political brutality along with anxiety isolation has worsened mental health eventually leading to suicide. “You pair that with increased anxiety and increased isolation, it’s no wonder that there have been increased mental health conditions, adverse mental health conditions, which includes self-harm and suicide ideation and attempts,” Weerasinghe said at an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention briefing. Adding to it she highlighted that lack of health care facilities for these marginalized communities also extended to lack help for mental health.
“There have been, of course, through the pandemic relaxed regulations in terms of telehealth, but when we're talking about people living in low-income communities and households ... they are privileges that only some of us are able to access,” she said.
As per the centre for disease control and prevention (CDC), suicide rates have risen many folds ever since the pandemic began. Elaborating further, she said that many communities were already battling depression and suicides even before the outbreak, and it had only worsened in the past months. "We've seen an increase in suicide rates in Black and Hispanic young men, and we've seen an increase in rates of non-fatal self-harm for all young people, with an increase particularly among Black young people", she added.
Separately, a report by YUNICEF showed that New Zealand ranked at the bottom among the rich countries when it comes to adolescent suicide and child obesity statistics. The country, which is otherwise hailed for its incredible human development index record, has been given a poor ranking by the UNICEF’s Report Card Series on child well-being.