Despite the reported impact of COVID mitigation efforts on the mental health of many people, there has been little reporting on suicides occurring during the pandemic and how these outcomes relate to the impact of COVID.
Tallahassee Police Department data shows that 26 death investigations were ruled suicides in 2020.
Tallahassee Reports has obtained the age breakdown of the deaths ruled suicides by TPD. According to TPD data, the age breakdown of the 26 suicides is as follows:
– Under 18 years old: two suicides
– 18 to less than 25 years old: seven suicides
– 25 to less than 55 years old: nine suicides
– 55 years old and above: eight suicides
In November 2020, TPD spokesperson Alicia Turner indicated that the pandemic contributed to the increase in suicides. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also released information indicating that, throughout the pandemic, many people’s mental health struggles have heightened due to social distancing, financial distress and other factors.
How do COVID deaths and suicides compare?
In Leon County, as of Jan. 12, 2021, 188 people have died from COVID-19. However, nine people under age 55 have died from COVID-19.
These numbers indicate that for people under 55 — which is approximately 75% of the Leon County population — suicide (18 under age 55) was more deadly than COVID-19 in 2020.
Also notable is the fact that there have been no COVID deaths reported under the age of 25, but nine people in this age group died from suicide.
Did COVID mitigation policies contribute to the increase in suicides in Leon County?
Untangling the cause and effect relationship between government policies is difficult. However, according to other reports — including TPD data —suicides in 2020 in Tallahassee were significantly higher than 2019. It would appear that this information would warrant further attention from policymakers.
TR will continue to investigate this issue.