NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Suicides in Queens have been on the rise since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, signaling concerns about mental health during New York’s stay-at-home order.
There has been a total of 16 suicides since mid-March, when New York schools were closed as the coronavirus pandemic continued to grow in the five boroughs.
The number is a 50% increase as compared to the same timeframe in 2019. There were only 17 suicides in the borough between January and May 2019.
District Attorney Melinda Katz released the numbers, saying she was distressed by the disturbing trend and was hoping to send a message to all residents to check on loved ones, colleagues and friends.
Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, the president of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, tells WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond that the pandemic has been a source of great stress for many.
“Queens is one of the most hardest hit areas in the country,” he said. “The stress people are going under can result in depression a feeling of hopelessness and sometimes that brings about suicide.”
He adds no one is immune to mental health problems.
This week, the medical director of the emergency department at NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital, Dr. Lorna Breen, died by suicide after telling family members about the horrors of treating coronavirus patients.
Anyone who is feeling alone with thoughts of suicide should call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800 273-TALK.