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    Doctors John Muir Medical Center Walnut Creek have seen more deaths by suicide than COVID-19

    California doctors say they have seen MORE suicides than COVID-19 deaths during lockdown as the negative impact on mental health increases

    • Trauma doctors and nurses at John Muir Medical Center in California say they have seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in just a matter of weeks 
    • Dr Mike deBoisblanc and nurse Kacey Hansen say lockdown needs to be lifted
    • Medics are witnessing a huge amount ‘intentional injury’ brought on by stress
    • Isolation and job losses are leading to higher number of suicide attempts 
    • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

    Doctors at a northern California medical center say the effects of the coronavirus are not just affecting physical health but mental health too. 

    The head of the trauma at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek near San Francisco say they have seen more deaths from suicide at the hospital due to the quarantine than from the virus itself. 

    Dr. Mike deBoisblanc believes that the lockdown restrictions need to end because of the impact they are having on mental health.  

    Dr Mike deBoisblank, a doctor at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California, says lockdown needs to end in order to save lives

    Trauma nurse Kacey Hansen agrees the lockdown in California needs to be lifted soon

    Trauma nurse Kacey Hansen agrees the lockdown in California needs to be lifted soon

    Medics at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut-Creek (pictured), California have revealed their experiences in the hospital's trauma center after mental health took a nosedive amid lockdown

    Medics at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut-Creek (pictured), California have revealed their experiences in the hospital’s trauma center after mental health took a nosedive amid lockdown

    ‘Personally I think it’s time,’ said Dr. Mike deBoisblanc to ABC7. ‘I think, originally, this shelter-in-place order was put in place to flatten the curve and to make sure hospitals have the resources to take care of COVID patients. We have the current resources to do that and our other community health is suffering.’ 

    ‘We’ve never seen numbers like this, in such a short period of time,’ he said. ‘I mean we’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks.’

    DeBoisblanc’s colleague, Kacey Hansen, who has worked as a trauma nurse for 33 years also shares his concern.  

    ‘What I have seen recently, I have never seen before. I have never seen so much intentional injury.’

    ‘They intend to die,’ Hansen said. ‘Sometimes, people will make what we call a “gesture”. It’s a cry for help. We’re just seeing something a little different than that right now. It’s upsetting.’

    Doctors Hansen and deBoisblanc say they are seeing mainly young adults die by suicide brought on by the stress of isolation and job losses as a result of the quarantine. 

    California’s shelter-in-place policy is set to last until midnight on May 31st.  

    Staff are encouraging those who are feeling depressed to call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-TALK.        

    ‘Generally speaking the vast majority of people say they feel better after they call and get the resources they need,’ Executive Director Tom Tamura said. 

    ‘With help comes hope. I think that there are people and organizations out there that you can contact that can get you the information you need and resources you need to get you through this tough time.’ 

    ‘I think people have found themselves disconnected from the normal supportive networks that they have, churches and schools and book clubs, you name it,’ Tamura said. ‘And that, coupled with the closure of some counseling services, people were maybe in a little bit of shock. They were trying to weather the storm a bit but as that isolation has grown people have come to realize this isn’t a sprint it is marathon.’  

    If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

    For confidential support, call the Samaritans at 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch. See www.samaritans.org for details.

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