22 April 2020: Gerhard Sundborn, Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland, says the Plan B group is receiving information from across New Zealand indicating the real human tragedy of lockdown is greater than the lives which may have been saved.
In a post to the Covid Plan B website, Sundborn says one piece of information from inside a district Health Board has heightened fears that suicides may have increased.
“A person in a top level DHB position has told us that the number of suicides in that region has risen, although the information is unobtainable under current rules empowering CEOs.
“Whether or not the report is accurate, the stress of lockdown-induced events will be taking a terrible toll on people and families.
“The elderly are alone, the sick are not seeking help, the newly unemployed are afraid, and people with mental health issues are without a network or health facilities to help.
“Strict conditions during the lockdown has meant families have not been able to farewell the more than 2600 other people who died this past month – that has exacerbated their grief.”
“As these tragic experiences grow, devastating families and communities, this will become a silent ‘counter-epidemic’ to Covid-19.”
Last week, think tank Koi Tū: Centre for Informed Futures, founded by former Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister Sir Peter Gluckman, released a report predicting that rates of depression, anxiety and suicide will increase because of the pandemic.
Similarly, one of New Zealand’s leading suicide prevention centres, The Taranaki Retreat, has said there is a link between the lockdown and an increased suicide risk.
The police have admitted there is an increased risk of self-harm incidents but say there is no evidence yet.
“The 13 coronavirus related deaths in New Zealand are undeniably sad. However, throughout the lockdown period, an additional 2,688 people have died from less publicised yet equally terrible illnesses.
“Staying home may be saving some lives, but it is also taking others.”
Contact: Gerhard Sundborn 021 100 3989