ATLANTA (WJBF) – The Georgia Department of Public Health has released new data on a “silent” pandemic — mental health and suicide concerns during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities shows an uptick in suicide attempts, especially in younger adults.
State health leaders say suicide attempts in Georgia are up 26% because of the pandemic.
“It is the 10th leading cause of death in the US and second leading cause among 10-34,” said Roland Behm with American Suicide Prevention.
Mental health experts say social isolation, remote learning and a lack of in-person activities are likely factors. The study shows female adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 are most at risk.
“Adolescent females are social beings, and when you take away school, activities, church, those outside support, we do think that’s contributing,” said Rachel Holloman, suicide prevention director of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health And Developmental Disabilities.
Suicide prevention experts say pre-pandemic, one out of 10 adults reported anxiety or depression but that number increased to four out of 10 cases during the pandemic.
Experts say there are some key signs to look out for when it comes to mental health and suicide.
“Do they start to talk about giving away possessions? Do they pull away from family and friends that they are connected? Do they talk about wanting to die?” said Holloman. “All those are warning signs.”
The state is partnering with local schools to develop programs and organize summits to help with suicide prevention for students.
For adults, the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention says essential health workers are more likely to report depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts by 14% compared to non-essential workers.