Jason Foundation Medical Advisory Board Issues Statement on CDC Report
The Jason Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board today issued a statement regarding a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that detailed a decline in suicide deaths during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. A national leader in suicide awareness and prevention, The Jason Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting the “silent epidemic” of youth and young adult suicide through educational programs for youth, educators, parents, and community groups.
The report provided provisional data from 2020 of COVID-19 deaths within the overall death rate from all other causes in the United States. Multiple causes for death were seen to increase during the pandemic such as heart disease and stroke, but attention has been brought to the decrease in suicides during 2020 as evidence that pandemic impacts did not increase suicides but demonstrated a decrease in reported suicides. While the number of suicides were down in a year when there was a viable concern is encouraging, we must evaluate the reasons why the number may have decreased and continue to prioritize mental healthcare and suicide prevention as we are still in the pandemic environment.
Proactive suicide awareness campaigns when combined with increased access to mental healthcare have a significant impact on the reduction of suicide-related deaths. As we continue to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not forget that we are not back to a pre-COVID medical, social, or psychological environment. We must continue to educate and create awareness to mental health issues and highlight the risk and preventability of suicide for those not yet being treated. We must focus on continued support from communities, insurers, and governments for mental health therapy and support for outpatient and inpatient psychiatric care programs.
Thankfully, the number of deaths from suicide were down in 2020, a year in which many were concerned about an increase. Addressing mental health issues along with suicide awareness and prevention has driven society to be more open about discussing mental health issues and actively seeking treatment. We must continue the awareness and educational campaigns while simultaneously improving access to mental healthcare treatment.
Read the full report below.