When the inevitable analyses of actions taken during the pandemic to mitigate the coronavirus infection are written, they will not be able to ignore the human cost of forcibly keeping us apart due to the mad-scientist social experiment we called a “lockdown.”
The preliminary data is inconclusive. Yes, the lockdown apparently saved some lives. But how many lives were lost or destroyed? How many people’s dreams were dashed? How many families were torn apart, all due to the notion that the disease was worse than lockdown?
These are “costs” of the pandemic also. And in many ways, those costs are more difficult to bear than the dollars and cents that were lost.
No group was hit harder by social isolation than teenagers. These were children trying to cope with an adult crisis and, in many cases, they simply failed. The CDC performed a study on the mental health crisis for teens during the pandemic
Emergency room (ER) mental health visits increased 31% among children aged 12-17 years old in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released Friday. The CDC noted that, while it couldn’t definitively establish a cause, it’s likely that pandemic-related restrictions on everyday life could be to blame for the increase.
“Young persons might represent a group at high risk because they might have been particularly affected by mitigation measures, such as physical distancing (including a lack of connectedness to schools, teachers, and peers); barriers to mental health treatment; increases in substance use; and anxiety about family health and economic problems,” the report stated.
“The findings from this study suggest more severe distress among young females than has been identified in previous reports during the pandemic, reinforcing the need for increased attention to, and prevention for, this population,” the authors wrote.
In fact, the rate of emergency room visits for teenage girls went up an alarming 50.7 percent in February-March of this year, just as lockdown restrictions were easing overall, while lockdown measures on schools remained the same.
Thank the teachers’ unions.
“Historically, we see a decrease in suicide deaths in the early part of a disaster or a catastrophe and then an increase,” said Jonathan Singer, president of the American Association of Suicidology. Though suicide deaths and attempts are very different, Singer noted that it’s possible the CDC’s recent findings are “following that trend of lower percentages early on and then increasing percentages as it goes on.”
One possible explanation for the spike in mental health emergency room visits is that teens were spending a lot more time with their parents, who may have noticed behavioral changes they normally wouldn’t have.
Unlike school counselors and trained mental health professionals who are experienced in dealing with adolescent “ups and downs,” many parents “have a much lower threshold for what constitutes a crisis,” he said. But for suicide prevention, that may be a benefit.
“It could be that parents were identifying their own kids” who were struggling with suicidal ideation and took them to the emergency room, Singer said. “This could actually be an indicator that parents staved off a bunch of suicide deaths by responding to these suspected attempts.”
Public health bureaucrats will never admit to the shortcomings of lockdowns and other coronavirus mitigation efforts because the truth is too horrible to contemplate for them. Trillions of dollars and thousands of lives were lost based on their recommendations. They will have a heavy burden to carry going forward as the real costs of the pandemic come into focus.
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