Quarantine Collateral Casualties: American Youth

Hint: It’s not the Communist Chinese

Open Season

“To every thing there is a season…” Ecclesiastes 3:1

When we hear about a season, we think about the Christmas season, spring break and summer vacations. No doubt you are familiar with the flu season. Right?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the flu season depends on geographical locations.

  • In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season can begin as early as October and can last as late as April or May.
  • In the temperate regions of the Southern Hemisphere, influenza activity typically occurs during April – September.
  • In the tropics, influenza activity occurs throughout the year.

Practically everyone knows the flu season.

There is a season about which few people know: the suicide season. Suicides are the tenth leading cause of death in this country, accounting for 47,173 deaths in 2017.

Through early morning fog I see
Visions of the things to be
The pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see

That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please

Text of the M.A.S.H. theme song ‘Suicide Is Painless’

The chorus of the theme song of the popular TV show M.A.S.H. says suicide is painless. Is this true?

Suicide is NOT painless, especially for the survivors who seem never to ‘get over it’. My wife and I lost our first grandchild 25 years ago and our third son three years ago. Neither death was a suicide and we do not ‘get over it’, either.

Parents who lose children to suicide bear the pain of loss to the grave.

Youth Suicide Statistics (2017)

  • Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. (2017 CDC WISQARS)
  • Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18. (2017 CDC WISQARS)
  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED. (CDC YRBSS)
  • Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 3,069 attempts by young people grades 9-12.  If these percentages are additionally applied to grades 7 & 8, the numbers would be higher. (CDC YRBSS)

Note: Mortality data posted on the CDC website takes two years to accumulate and catalog.

Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Adam Kaplin, M.D., Ph.D. says the suicide season peak in the months of April, May and June. Suicides are lowest in December.

TEXAS SUICIDES IN THE NEWS – MAY & JUNE 2020

Not all suicides are reported by news media.

Depression precedes suicide and the absence of social connectedness precedes depression.

Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54.” NIMH: Suicide

Occasionally being sad or feeling hopeless is a part of every child’s life. However, some children feel sad or uninterested in things that they used to enjoy, or feel helpless or hopeless in situations they are able to change. When children feel persistent sadness and hopelessness, they may be diagnosed with depression. Extreme depression can lead a child to think about suicide or plan for suicide. For youth ages 10-24 years, suicide is among the leading causes of death.

CDC: Anxiety and Depression in Children

My Hope

The measurement and control industry has been my life’s work in the aerospace industry, smart building controls, energy conservation, manufacturing facilities, wastewater management, clean rooms, laboratories, gas liquefaction, and hospital critical care and surgical spaces.

The maintenance of indoor air quality (IAQ) in hospitals and public buildings presents the greatest challenge because IAQ stands between sickness and health, life and death for people living and working indoors.

I sense social disconnectedness due to the protracted government-mandated quarantines as a prelude to suicides of school-age children and young adults. There are solutions, proven engineering and genuine science, that hold promise for uninterrupted school terms regardless of seasonal viral epidemics or pandemics.

What does it take to capture the attention of the public school administrations?

John White
Rockwall, Texas

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