California Doctor Urges State To Lift Restrictions As Suicide Attempts Soar

( Much of the argument surrounding push for states to re-open and relax their coronavirus-related restrictions has to do with getting people back to their normal lives to kickstart the economy.
But another, more serious reason has emerged as well: To help mental health.
The head of the trauma unit at John Muir Medical Center in Bay Area, California, Dr. Mike deBoisblanc, said “it’s time” to end the shutdown before it gets worse. He said his hospital has seen an “unprecedented” spike in suicide attempts during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, he told a local TV station:
“We’ve never seen numbers like this, in such a short period of time. I mean, we’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks.
“I think, originally, this [state restrictions] was put in place to flatten the curve and to make sure hospitals have the resources to take care of COVID patients. We have the current resources to do that, and our other community health is suffering.”
As of now, California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsome is instituting a phased re-opening of the state, with counites in the Bay Area progressing slower than some other parts of the state.
Mental health is a concern of professionals around the country in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. Many worry that the industry is wholly unprepared to handle the surge in mental health cases, possibly even more so than hospitals were unprepared to handle the influx of coronavirus patients.
Susan Borja, the head of the National Institute of Mental Health’s traumatic stress research program, said:
“That’s what is keeping me up at night. I worry about the people the system just won’t absorb or won’t reach. I worry about the suffering that’s going to go untreated on such a large scale.”
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found almost half of all Americans say the coronavirus pandemic is harming their health in some fashion. Depression and anxiety are the two main conditions that are affecting people today.
A federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported a 1,000% increase in calls during April compared to the same month last year.
Since mid-February, Talkspace, an online therapy company, reported a 65% increase in clients. And the patients’ main concerns were anxiety related to the coronavirus.
As Oren Frank, the co-founder and CEO of Talkspace, said:
“People are really afraid. What’s shocking to me is how little leaders are talking about this. There are no White House briefings about it. There is no plan.”
Mental health surrounding coronavirus only made big headlines recently in a bad way — when two health-care workers in New York took their own lives. One was a top emergency room doctor who spent weeks helping coronavirus patients who flooded the hospital she worked at. She had no previous documented mental illness, and many of her friends said she was struggling with the emotion weight she was carrying while treating patients.