I don’t want to be too negative, but I do want to shed some light on “why” protests against lockdowns should be “listened” to even if you don’t agree with their premise at this moment in time. Sacrificing for a greater good needs to be clarified as it is often not a simple equation.
Economic Impact on Suicide
We’re long from being out of the woods on COVID-19 and its death toll in the US. But there are other factors that are important to consider in the conversation as we see more protests open up about freedoms and liberties. I have seen some posts on social media that help to frame the situation and one that I like is the one that mentions we are not in the same boat, but rather we are simply in the same storm. Many people have the luxury to weather the storm better than others because they can continue working from home, are part of businesses that are deemed “essential” etc. But others are teetering on economic collapse if they are unable to work, are depressed, etc.
There are many factors and there are simply no black and white answers. Like so many debates in this country we skip over the debate side and simply vilify one group over another. If you want to get back to an open country you are considered by opposition as uneducated, reckless, and self centered. If you want to continue to isolate even if by legal enforcement, the opposition considers you an anti-democratic totalitarian regime ready to strip liberty and freedom from our country.
The fact is that both sides have valid opinions and we don’t need name calling and a war of words. As with most things, the right answers lie somewhere in the middle. What we need is solid debate and informed decisions held by those in our leadership. NEITHER side is doing particularly poorly or positively in all this because we are all still trying to figure things out. But threatening lock downs for an indeterminable future is ALSO not going to fly as more and more people struggle (first it will be the people who live paycheck to paycheck, and then it will be those who lived on what those others spent…). Economic ruin has its consequences too; including those on the health services and first responder side.
Here’s a blog post in Psychology Today by Glenn Sullivan, Ph.D., about suicide rates in the US and how an uptick “could” be possible as unemployment rates increase and financial suffering spreads. When people are working there is a sense of meaning and purpose (or at the very least they are filling time with something deemed somewhat “positive”.). If people can’t fill that void with other outlets while unemployed, then their minds can turn to some pretty nasty thoughts, including suicide. Here’s one professor of psychology and clinical psychologist’s brief take on the subject - published March 22, 2020. This looks at suicide, but I am sure others in government corners look at things like drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and more while we alter lifestyles.
Domestic Violence Uptick in Lockdowns
NY Times article about some of the uptick in domestic violence as a result of living in lockdown. But in a Covid lockdown world, attentions and priorities may be shifted to deal with the virus (first responders are stressed, given new marching orders each day, etc.) and therefore responsiveness and action based on reported (and unreported) domestic violence cases make not be its best. After reports increased, some countries like France and Italy actually opened up vacant hotel rooms as ways to help people weather the lockdowns - but is this a permanent solution?
Calls to Suicide Hotline in LA Soar Amid Lockdown
22 calls related to COVID in February in LA jumps to 1800 calls in March…not all of this would be related to “lockdown” as many may deal with grief over lost loved ones, or empathy for those in crisis, but that is a remarkable amount of change for calls dealing with a particular topic to a support line meant to support those with suicidal thoughts.