It's time to prepare for the next threat to society following the Covid-19 pandemic: Death of Despair
A report came out yesterday on the CBS News, "Coronavirus pandemic may lead to 75,000 "deaths of despair" from suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, study says." According to one of the study's authors, Benjamin Miller, they anticipate the fallout of the economic shut-down is that many will die from, "Death of Despair." Those who have been forced into isolation because of the government mandatory shut downs, now are finding out they are still unable to return to work and provide for their family. Bills are piling up, the savings account is empty, and options are few-and-far-between as to how to face these challenges. On top of the problems, there are no solutions being offered other than government handouts that don't meet the average families financial needs. Many have not been able to receive government assistance as monies are depleted quicker than they are received.
People who suffered from Anxiety and Depression prior to the Covid-19 outbreak are very susceptible to the limitations and negativity that still remains. Individuals who were drawn to addictive behaviors to cope with trauma from their past have been re-traumatized by the defense mechanisms of the recent Stay Home Orders. Limited access to medical doctors who have been focused on Covid-19 patients has led to some people not getting Cancer treatments. Limited availability of medications has increased symptoms exacerbated by fear of getting Covid-19 and its taking precedence to all other medical issues. People too afraid to leave their homes are not going to their doctors because of the fear of exposure and have remained isolated, in pain, and mentally suffer alone. For many who have lost all hope, suicide may seem their only solution to ending their pain.
All of these things are driving away hope and leading people to fall into despair. We are not a people who do well in isolation. Remember the days of "Solitary Confinement" as a means of breaking the spirt of rebellious prisoners? Remember WWII and the confinement of healthy individuals in concentration camps? Well, those in control took completely healthy people, told them to go into isolation and self contain (quarantine) even though there was absolutely nothing wrong with them. Then they told them if they left their homes, returned to work, they could die or infect someone they loved. Police were called to arrest and cite anyone who broke these new laws that were implemented and accepted without question.
The problem is:
1. Does society fight the enemy that is seen (unemployment and financial ruin), or
2. Live in fear and isolation and hide from a possibility of getting sick?
Does exposure automatically mean death? No, on the contrary the vast majority of people who have been exposed don't even get sick. But, if one has lost their job and their ability to care for their partner and children shouldn't that be their immediate focus? This is the contradiction that remains. When there is confusion there is conflict.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Each community needs to rise up, gather together, and begin to support those who have lost hope. People need to reach beyond the borders of their homes and get out of their confinement and seek connection. If you know someone who is isolating in their home, who has not reached out to talk to anyone, reach out to them. They may be on the brink of making a fatal decision based on their loss of hope.
30 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
Day 94: Connect