NL Gazette

There was no increase in N.L.’s suicide rate. Pandemic, but psychologists are cautious

Dr. Janine Hubbard says that despite the steady suicide rate, people’s mental health has deteriorated due to the pandemic.

The number of people who have committed suicide in Newfoundland and Labrador since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has not escaped the status quo, but a psychologist in St. John warns that perhaps the worst is yet to come.

According to the Chief Medical Examiner, there were 67 suicides in 2020. In 2019, there were 5 cases, and in 2018, it decreased to 71 cases. From January to mid-November 2021, 49 cases were registered.

Psychologist Dr. Janine Hubbard says she’s not surprised by these figures. History has shown that suicide rates do not change during a collective crisis, she said. Anyway, she says they are declining.

“The crisis is over and suicides are on the rise. That’s why neither of us are surprised by the status quo and are really worried about what will happen in the future,” Hubbard said in a telephone interview on Friday. … She said that as the world faces new choices, and as Newfoundland and Labrador populations grow, uncertainty grows and the body reacts with anxiety to these threats about what will happen next, she said.

“It made me feel better last Christmas when we got strict guidelines on what to expect,” Hubbard said.

“It allowed us to plan. Yes, it was a completely redesigned plan, but it gave us the confidence to make decisions.” According to Hubbard, since 2020, she has had an increase in substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and a significant increase in eating disorders.

“In particular, one of the surprising things we are seeing is an increasing number of previously unseen reports of suicidal thoughts and thoughts of children and adolescents.

“It may not work, but I have these thoughts.” Hubbard said support throughout the epidemic, such as government financial aid, was able to keep people alive. The importance of social connections was widespread even during the pandemic, helping people with mental health problems.

As the pandemic continues and new options emerge, Hubbard worries about what will happen next. Her advice: Reach out to friends, family, and neighbors to see if you need help.

“These little gestures can make a big difference this time of year.”

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