Coronavirus mental health warning: Expert reveals key demographic most at risk

Coronavirus mental health warning: Expert reveals key demographic most at risk

These fears are shared by Suicide Crisis founder and CEO Joy Hibbins, who exposed who is at most risk of committing suicide during an impassioned plea to Ms Hibbins, who herself suffers with bipolar disorder, is deeply concerned about the link between “social isolation and depression”. Millions of residents have been forced into lockdown after Prime Minister Boris Johnson enforced draconian measures to ensure people remain indoors in a bid to control the killer coronavirus.

It is hoped by putting people into their homes, their chances of catching the infection will be lessened and as a result fewer people will spread the virus – or need medical attention from an already overstretched NHS.

But this period of isolation, which Mr Johnson said would be reviewed in three weeks time, may bring about even more issues and struggles – especially for those with underlying mental health conditions, or anxieties about topics such as money or loneliness.

Ms Hibbins told that person who becomes deeply depressed is more vulnerable to a suicidal crisis.

She said: “This is likely to have a particular impact on older people who have been asked to self-isolate for months, and on people of all ages who already have mental health issues or are vulnerable in some other way. 

“We need to be particularly concerned about people who are living alone.

“At the moment, it feels like the country is in the ‘shock’ phase. 

“It is in the coming weeks (and months) that we may see much more evidence of depression related to COVID-19, after people have been isolated for longer and devoid of human contact.”

Ms Hibbins also expressed further worries surrounding how people could cope if a loved one died during the crisis, and the way it could impact a person’s own grieving process.

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“This ‘being there’ for each other is very important. We are hearing of neighbours (who have not spoken for years because of neighbour disputes in the past) talking to each other again. 

“There is a palpable shift in the way in which neighbours are coming together. This is really significant not just for individual people – but because of what it tells us about human beings.“

People aged over 70 are considered to be more vulnerable to the killer coronavirus, with many of those who have died in the UK aged over that threshold.

They, along with other vulnerable people including those with diabetes and who are pregnant, should remain at home in a bid to ensure they do not contract the virus.

Published at Thu, 26 Mar 2020 14:47:00 +0000