There are probably a number of reasons that could explain the fall in the rate of death by suicide in the US in 2020. Still, we spent most of the year assuming there was surely a huge increase in suicides that never actually happened. So, we are left to wonder why.
This USA Today article has a few theories from experts, like the possibility that some older or sick people who died from COVID19 might have died by suicide instead, or that the fact that so many of us were with our families negated the opportunity to be alone for the act. But there were two things that I think were also really important points:
He believes the expanded availability of mental health services via telehealth, such as counseling calls by phone or computer, may have been part of the reason.
“Access went up and telehealth was a better platform than many of us anticipated,” he said.
In addition, major employers and organizations were keenly aware of workers’ mental health during the pandemic, he said.
So is it possible that simply making some sort of care easily accessible to more people, and looking out for each other, including in the workplace, helped lower the number of deaths by suicide? I’m willing to continue trying to do both of those things going forward to find out. It certainly seems like as good a place to start as any, and maybe lowering that number isn’t as complicated as we thought. It just takes the willingness to get these things done.
I’m for it.