Attempted suicides among children ‘quadrupled’ during second national lockdown in Germany

5-year old Jakob is vaccinated inside an Airbus A300 Zero G plane, where children between 5 and 11 years get a vaccination against the coronavirus at the airport in Cologne, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. The vaccination center inside the out of operation aircraft for parabolic flights is to promote COVID-19 vaccinations as an exciting event for the kids. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Up to 500 children across Germany are understood to have attempted to commit suicide during the country’s second coronavirus lockdown in the spring of 2021, a recent study has revealed.

Germany’s Focus magazine reported on the study by the Essen University Hospital which caused quite the stir in the national media, as the magazine explored the disturbing findings with one of the study’s authors to ascertain the role the pandemic had played in the increased figures.

The study revealed that “around 450 to 500” children and adolescents nationwide were admitted to the hospital for a suicide attempt during the second national lockdown. Compared to the first lockdown, the number of cases “quadrupled,” according to Christian Dohna-Schwake, head of the hospital’s ICU for children.

FOCUS Online asked whether the suicide attempts were directly related to the coronavirus pandemic, to which Dohna-Schwake replied: “Of course, I cannot make this statement. To do this, one would have to conduct a prospective survey that also includes psychological tests and standardized questionnaires about motivation.”

When asked how many cases in which there were clear indications of the coronavirus pandemic being a factor, for example through suicide notes left or statements from the parents, the doctor explained: “We did not understand this aspect. Corona is never the only reason for a suicide attempt. In my opinion, however, the changes in the lives of families and young people have made a major contribution to the fact that the individual life situation of individual young people often seemed so hopeless that a suicide attempt was seen as the last resort.”

Dohna-Schwake pointed out that there is “clear data for a stress on mental health from the pandemic in this age group.” It is undisputed that depression, anxiety disorders and eating disorders in adolescents have increased in the pandemic – for a wide variety of reasons.

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