One in five young people considered suicide in last lockdown
Those in the Netherlands in life threatening danger should immediately dial 112 for emergency services. Anyone suffering from depression or contemplating suicide may call 113 Zelfmoordpreventie at any time by dialing either 113 or 0800-0113. Counselors at De Luisterlijn may also be reached at 088-0767000, or volunteers may be reached at one of their local numbers. A list of suicide crisis hotlines outside the Netherlands is available on Wikipedia.
Over a fifth of young people in the Netherlands seriously thought about suicide at least once during the last lockdown period. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and other health organizations reported this based on a poll among 5,826 young people between 12 and 25 years old. Such thoughts were most common among young people struggling with loneliness or other mental health complaints for some time or who had experienced the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in their own lives.
In the same period, between December 2021 and February 2022, general practitioners also saw significantly more young people with suicidal thoughts or attempted to take their own lives than before the pandemic. In absolute terms, it concerns a few cases per week.
Viewed in percentage terms over a longer period, however, it becomes clear how significant the increase is. In 2021, GPs registered 36 percent more consultations related to suicide than before the pandemic. In the first quarter of this year, the number remained about the same. "These figures almost exclusively involve 15 to 24-year-olds," the researchers said.
Boys were more likely to have suicidal thoughts than girls. Kids in pre-vocational secondary education and secondary vocational education and young people who no longer lived with their parents were also more vulnerable, according to the organizations united in the Network Health Research in Disasters (GOR). In addition to the RIVM, that includes municipal health services GGD, ARQ National Psychotrauma Center, and research institute Nivel.
The group of young people who said that they sometimes or often had suicidal thoughts was over twice as large as in the previous quarter. Then the researchers surveyed a different group, "but both groups of young people were representative," they said.
"It is important to continue monitoring further development and be extra alert to the risk groups," the RIVM concluded. "With a view to the future, it is important to consciously include mental health risks when considering possible new measures."
Of the young people who participated in the survey, 55 percent suffered from stress. 43 percent indicated that they had psychological complaints. Many young people also reported issues like fatigue (36 percent), irritability (22 percent), and memory or concentration problems (22 percent).
Adults fared better on average. Yet in the age group 26 to 35, 36 percent also suffered from psychological complaints. The researchers note that all their results are snapshots. "The circumstances may now be different."
Reporting by ANP.