Suicide and Self-Harm: Bereaved Families Count the Costs of Lockdowns


Then one cold January night, Pepijn left the house. He was found the following day in a tent, where he had taken drugs and lit a barbecue to keep himself warm. Mr. Remmers said his son’s death was caused by a combination of carbon monoxide poisoning and drugs.

“With the pandemic, the things that spiced his life, that made it worth going to school, were gone,” he added.

As Pepijn’s death made headlines in the Netherlands, a lawmaker asked if lockdown had killed him. It’s not as simple as that, Mr. Remmers said.

But the pandemic, he added, “provided a context in which things become possible, and which may have otherwise not happened.”

After a series of lockdowns in Britain last year, one suicide hotline for young people, Papyrus, saw its calls increase by 25 percent, in line with an increase of about 20 percent each year.

It is unclear, the organization says, whether this is a sign of more people experiencing more suicidal thoughts or symptoms of mental health issues, or if people now feel more comfortable reaching out for help.

Lily Arkwright confided in her friend and housemate Matty Bengtsson. A 19-year-old history student at Cardiff University, Lily was self-confident, outgoing and charismatic in public, her friends and family said, but as she went back to school in September, she began to struggle with the effects of lockdown.



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