Coronavirus and Suicide

It’s interesting to see how many experts there are in mental health these days as well as epidemiologists and virologists…

A message of hope to the Muslims feeling depressed with the current  oppressed state of the Ummah – Muslim Council of Hong Kong
(Image: MC of Hong Kong)

I really don’t enjoy when people use the likes of suicide rates to support their arguments and agendas. It’s not all about dry data but rather about real lives lost and real families suffering that devastation. NO suicide rate, whether it be increasing, decreasing, high or low is in any way acceptable. Prior to Covid-19 appearing in our lives, the UK experienced around 6,000 deaths by suicide with a figure of around 800,000 deaths worldwide.

As is often the case, figures do not tell the whole story though, suicide figures are complex for many reasons, for example the UK coroner system is inadequate for the close monitoring required for suicide statistics. Even though there hasn’t been a recent rise in completed suicides there remains a need for caution in adopting a stance that suicide figures won’t be affected by the pandemic.

A common public narrative is that suicides and self-harm have increased to epidemic proportions since Covid. These claims are not just misleading but also potentially harmful to those who are already struggling. Please think twice before spreading this type of misinformation. A claim last year was that suicide had increased by ‘200%’ and was posted some 31,000 times before being debunked and taken down.

So why are organisations such as the charity I am employed by and various surveys informing us that our mental health is deteriorating? How do we explain this contradiction? Well it’s true to say that as well as the risks there have been protective factors too. During earlier lockdowns there may well have been greater attempts from people in keeping in touch with and supporting each other. We have certainly been more alert to any possible crisese. Certainly I remember a greater community response to those in need. There may also have been a belief that Covid would ‘soon be over’ in some, leadig away from despairing thoughts.

Much of this has sadly, now disappeared with the needs of business and people’s livelihoods increasingly pitched up against the health of the public. The social help in communities has eroded since last year but yet, in this second year there are still significant risks. People are exhausted and pessimistic at every new lockdown or the prospect of one. Members of the public are reporting each other to the police and there is a more general lack of cohesion in the community. We need to continue to look after each other, especially regarding suicide ideation.

Most clinicians will tell you that recovery can be a dangerous time. In terms of restrictions being lifted we need to be careful. More than anything, we need to bring the compassion back into society in understanding and taking heed of people’s needs for support, especially where suicide and self-harm are concerned, not using lost lives to back arguments about the speed of restrictions being lifted.

Just my two-penneth on the situation though nobody asked me. I logged off work earlier and was on the point of ordering a cab to go to the hospital for my second jab when an individual texted me, in a bad way, so delaying my visit for the vaccination. He was in a bad way but is now being cared for, thankfully. That is the reality of this situation – not arguing about when you can get your gym open, if you can go inside a pub and get leathered for four hours or go on that Mediterranean holiday.

Have the gratitude that you’re healthy and actually want to live. it’s a great start.

The Tiers Of A Clown

A reported further 1,024 cases in 24hrs in Nottingham yesterday. Numbers further afield into the suburbs and wider county have taken an alarming jump also.

(Image: Nottingham Post)

I made a (probably final) visit to my ‘local’ in the city last night under Tier 2 restrictions which include no mixing with other households. The manager expressed that he would now prefer to close up completely and that to continue staffing the pub, even with just a single person didn’t make sense. There had been very few customers in the two days since new restrictions.

The experience? Well I sat listening to the Down The Slope Hibs podcast featuring an interview with Super Joe Tortalano, on my bluetooth earbuds, sipping pints of Bitbuger. Pleasant enough, but I can do that at home. In fact the pub that I know which is invariably lively with an interesting mix of folk felt more like Seafield Crematorium.

Streets and businesses in the city and local towns have all but emptied it appears. A popular public opinion is to impose a ‘complete’ lockdown. It feels very much like March again here. That’s me done, I’ll be imposing a self-lockdown – for the winter if necessary. Grim maybe, but it might be as well to find acceptance of this now.

It’s 10pm And All Is Not Well

I’M SURE the thinking that some people become increasingly drunk later in the evening and less observent of social distancing measures is a logical and reasonable point. However, significantly, it’s a moveable feast.

I wouldn’t particularly argue one way or the other regarding closing times in pubs in particular but certainly, someone who wants to get innebriated won’t allow an early closing time in public houses to change that. They’ll go out earlier, go on to homes afterwards, drink stronger drinks or drink them faster to achieve the same effect.

These things are indicated to me through treating drink dependent people for a good while. A top down, directive approach rarely works that well in these things beyond a certain point. Far better that people become educated and actually want to exhibit these behaviours without being ‘forced’ or ‘blocked’ into doing so.

There are strong suggestions from scientists and health experts that the Government have not consulted with them regarding the likely benefits or otherwise of adopting this latest policy. So much for ‘following the science’.

Unfortunately, many of the general public have stopped listening to or wanting to acquiesce to the UK government’s constantly changing instructions. They have no faith in them, nor do many trust them due to their incompetence, weekly u-turns and abject failure as much as anything else.

The genie is already out of the bottle I’m afraid.

The Greatest Virus Pit In Europe

Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t live on a small island. Less than six per cent of our land mass is built on. An issue is rather density of population, and we’re not even the highest in Europe for that.


(Image: James Mylne/PA)

The real issues are that the UK didn’t lockdown that population effectively and clearly, didn’t do it remotely quickly enough, that we lacked testing, a tracking and a tracing ability, The mixed messages sent out for the entirely of the outbreak are UK Conservative government decisions.

These are the real reasons the country has ended up with approximately 36,000 of our loved ones dead according to latest data. Some estimates put the figures as high as 53,000. Another is the highly infectious disease which the government under-estimated. Headed by another virus, our ridiculous cavalier Prime Minister, Johnson.

It’s no surprise that people seem not to understand the lockdown rules, let alone the section of people who seek constantly to find loopholes. The government’s communication strategy appears to consist mainly of anonymous leaks to the media, which are then reported and subsequently partially denied. Witness the drip-drip of information this week.

The government are totally directionless at this point. Prime Minister Johnson, who previously couldn’t manage to stay out of the media has become a recluse in hiding with the politicians appointed to speak in his absence appearing to know next to nothing. The UK is constantly missing targets for testing – even with transparently artificially massaged figures, it is ill equipped with PPE which NHS employers are gagged from talking about and has refused technology from established industry leaders in favour of providing a ‘nice little earner’ for a track and trace app being created by a crony of the detestable Dominic Cummings. Would you really trust that? I’m struggling.

The UK now has the appalling record for second most Covid-19 deaths in the world after the USA. This government did NOTHING as it watched the experiences of other European countries ahead of us in this pandemic and an opportunity to learn.

I can’t imagine many other countries will want to accept people from the UK in the future which will hopefully satisfy the Brexit brain-dead at least. They can stay at home resplendent in their blissful ignorance.

The UK is proudly now the greatest virus pit in Europe.