As the world continues to fight the battle against the global pandemic, the total number of confirmed cases in India till today are reported to be 74,281 and the number is 4.26 Million worldwide. The situation is getting difficult to control as governments all around the world are taking different measures to fight this crisis. However, few cases have been reported around the world where people out of fear of getting COVID-19 infection, social stigma, isolation, depression, anxiety, emotional imbalance, economic shutdown, lack and/or improper knowledge, financial and future insecurities are taking their lives. Thomas Schaefer, the finance minister of Germany's Hesse state committed suicide apparently after becoming "deeply worried" over how to cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus. A 65-year old woman in India committed suicide due to her anxiety over Covid-19 and that she was alone. A 34-year old nurse in Italy was deeply traumatized; her compassion fatigue, emotional burnout, hopelessness, and fear of contracting and spreading the disease to others compelled to take her life. Thus these suicide reports are just a manifestation of the rippling effects this virus is leading to worldwide.
As exemplified by the suicide of the German Finance Minister, the looming economic crisis is creating a panic among the general population as well as the administrators about the increasing unemployment, poverty, homelessness along with the uncertainty of time which is making people feel worthless and hopeless about present and future.
Social distancing is inducing a lot of anxiety in many citizens, and for those with existing mental health issues like depression and older adults living in loneliness and isolation- it is a matter of greater psychological fear. There is stress, anxiety and pressure in medical healthcare professionals. Further, social boycott and discrimination have added other cases to the Covid-19 trauma as people have committed suicide due to social avoidance by the community members and moral conscience to ensure not to pass on the virus to his community.
Therefore, it is important to address the adverse psychological impacts and psychopathological symptoms in the general population during the pandemic. The aim shall be to reducing the risk of developing distress, improving well-being, as well as promoting preventive behaviors. In terms of impact of mass media and social media on psychological attitudes and behaviors towards the COVID-19 emergency, people need to first set the limit of COVID-19 related news consumption from local, national, international, social and digital platform and the sources must be authentic. One needs to maintain connectedness and solidarity despite the physical distance. Individuals with the previous history of suicidal thoughts, panic and stress disorder, low self-esteem and low self-worth, are easily susceptible to catastrophic thinking like suicide in such viral pandemic. Indirect clues need to be noticed with great care, where people often say ‘I’m tired of life’, ‘no one loves me’, ‘leave me alone’ and so on.
The policymakers should create and implement evidence-based interventions, along with large public engagement campaign to increase help-seeking. The focus should also be on self, family, community and primary care. Training millions in suicide prevention techniques and combining crisis intervention by providing psychological first-aid will help save lives and reduce emotional distress, preventing long-term trauma.
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Psychological, Behavioral, Interpersonal Effects, and Clinical Implications for Health Systems. (n.d.). Retrieved from here
Covid-19: India is staring at a mental health crisis. (2020, May 7). Retrieved from here
Pti. (2020, March 30). German minister commits suicide after 'virus crisis worries'. Retrieved from here
Thakur, V., & Jain, A. (2020). COVID 2019-suicides: A global psychological pandemic. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2020.04.062