Underage suicide attempts have quadrupled amid Germany lockdown, study finds
German researchers have confirmed that the lack of in-person contact during a Covid lockdown and school closings has a sad impact on children’s mental health, with the number of suicide attempts rising sharply.
Up to 500 minors have been hospitalized after suicide attempts in Germany between early March and late May 2021, DUP Magazin reported this week, citing an as yet unpublished study from University Hospital Essen (UK of Essen).
The researchers analyzed data from 27 pediatric intensive care units across the country. They found that reported suicide attempts among children had quadrupled compared to the pre-pandemic period.
Christian Dohna-Schwake, head of the UK children’s unit in Essen, said the continued restrictions and school closures have been particularly damaging to minors already suffering from depression or anxiety disorders. “Social contacts outside of social media have a preventive effect” against mental issues, Dohna-Schwake said, urging schools to stay open “as long as possible.”
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However, Renate Schepker, director of the German Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics, and Psychotherapy (DGKJP), told RND that the possible implications of the study should be viewed with caution until upon publication.
At the same time, Schepker agreed that the blockages were hurting the well-being of children. “They have a different sense of time and are much more dependent on developmental stimuli, such as social contact”, she said. “It should be possible for children and adolescents to maintain contact with other children despite the blockages – and not just digitally. “
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