Experts: COVID Adds to Risk Factors for Suicide

While the world fights the pandemic, health experts say there's a chronic epidemic that continues to hide in the shadows. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and in Illinois, one person takes his or her own life, on average, every six hours. Dr. Dimple Patel, a board member of the Illinois chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said suicidal ideas often are connected to a history of depression or anxiety. However, she said, the fear and isolation related to COVID-19 also are risk factors. "There could be a triggering event or something going on that could especially increase your risk," she said, "and with COVID-19 going on, you don't have those outlets like you would normally have in order to reach out to other people." According to the National Health Council, reports of depression and anxiety have skyrocketed since January, and in May, 21,000 people reported that they'd considered self-harm or suicide.