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The COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged lockdown are severely damaging the mental health of young people throughout the globalist West. In NSW, Australia, emergency department visits for self-harm and suicidal intention are up a heart-breaking 31 per cent for children and teenagers compared with last year.
NSW Chief Psychiatrist Murray Wright told The Sun-Herald the ongoing lockdown was especially hard for adolescents who made up the bulk of self-harm and mental health problems in the 0-17 age group. ‘For young people education is so important, both in terms of progressing towards whatever their career aspirations are but also for social interaction,’ Dr Wright said.
The latest figures from the NSW suicide monitoring system show 17 people under the age of 18 are believed to have died by suicide in the first six months of this year, compared with 13 in the first half of 2019. The draft figures for July show a further significant jump.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned of a ‘shadow pandemic’ of mental illness caused by ongoing lockdowns, particularly among younger Australians, echoing the words of psychiatrist and former Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry.
The Treasurer warned that if premiers and chief ministers didn’t stick to the agreed road map to reopening, the economic and health costs would be high. ‘Jobs will be lost, businesses will close, debt will increase and the mental health of our community, particularly among kids, will suffer and die.’
NSW Health’s fortnightly internal report shows demand for services has risen among all age groups since the pandemic began, but the impact is most severe for children and teenagers. People aged 0 to 17 already suffered a decline in mental health in 2020 compared with 2019, and in 2021 there is a further decline.
In the year to July 29, 8,489 people under the age of 18 were rushed to hospital for self-harm and suicidal intention, equating to more than 40 a day. That was a 31 per cent rise on the same time in 2020 and up 47 per cent compared with 2019. Across all age groups visits to emergency departments for self-harm and suicidal ideation were up 13 per cent compared with last year.
Emergency department mental health presentations were up 26 per cent compared with 2020, compared with a 6 per cent increase for the general population. Acute mental health admissions for children and young people for the year to July 22 were up 43 per cent on 2020, compared with a 2 per cent rise for the general population.
The Australian reported on a similar crisis in Victoria, where figures to the end of May show an average of 156 teens a week were rushed to hospital after self-harming and suffering suicide attempt or inclination, an 88 per cent increase on last year. Dr Wright said self-harm among adolescents had been increasing in the western world for the past decade, so the impact of the pandemic came on top of the long-term trend.
The NSW Ombudsman last week delivered its Biannual Report of the Deaths of Children in NSW, which found suicide was the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 17 in 2018 and 2019, and had increased significantly for all children aged 10 to 17 since 2005. Among all age groups, 444 people died by suicide in the first half of this year, compared with 428 before the pandemic, with most of the rise in regional NSW.
For emergencies call 000. Other helplines: Lifeline 13 11 14; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800; NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511. Source
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