Portland officials are fearing a mental health crisis brewing out of the coronavirus pandemic — with the number of suicide-related 911 calls soaring following Portland’s declaration of a “state of emergency” amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Distressed calls related to self-harm jumped 41 percent in the days following the March 12 declaration compared to the same period last year, according to the Portland Mercury — and rose 23 percent in the 10-day window leading up to the executive order.
Dr. Michael Freeman, a professor of forensic epidemiology and psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University told the outlet that the mental health of quarantine individuals is his “greatest worry” about the virus.
“Folks who are already living paycheck to paycheck, who get laid off, and then are being told this thing is huge and out of control and there’s no end in sight,” he said.
Americans across the country have had their lives thrown into uncertainty as the coronavirus outbreak intensified, without any real idea as to when a sense of stability would return.
Gun stores have seen a huge surge in sales to worried Americans. New Yorkers flocked to stores, too, telling The Post last week they feared of rising crime if the economy tanked.
“If you isolate someone and they’re only consuming media outlets or websites that are giving them really concerning, hopeless information … without any external stimulus… that raises potential for that person to take action,” Freeman told the Portland Mercury.
Nonprofit hotlines for suicide were also noticing an uptick in calls.
Portland’s uptick in suicide-related 911 calls has begun to be reflected in calls to local mental health hotlines.
“My clinicians are telling me that on almost every call somebody mentions COVID-19,” said Greg Border, of Lines for Life, a mental health nonprofit that operates several phone lines across the Portland area.
“It’s at least in the background of what’s going on, if not the core reason they’re in crisis.”
The post Portland sees spike in 911 suicide calls after coronavirus emergency declaration appeared first on New York Post.