FOUNDATION FOR ECONOMIC EDUCATION - Aug 15, 2020 -
The collateral damage of lockdowns must not be ignored.
In economics, we talk a lot about unintended consequences.
It’s easy to forget that societies are complex ecosystems. Legislators often pass sweeping changes hoping to achieve one result, not realizing it will create countless other consequences not intended.
Some of the unintended consequences will be positive, but many of them will not be. A case in point can be found in new government statistics that show a surge in suicidal thoughts among young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One in four young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 say they've considered suicide in the past month because of the pandemic, according to new CDC data that paints a bleak picture of the nation's mental health during the crisis.
The data also flags a surge of anxiety and substance abuse, with more than 40 percent of those surveyed saying they experienced a mental or behavioral health condition connected to the Covid-19 emergency. The CDC study analyzed 5,412 survey respondents between June 24 and 30.
The toll is falling heaviest on young adults, caregivers, essential workers and minorities. While 10.7 percent of respondents overall reported considering suicide in the previous 30 days, 25.5 percent of those between 18 to 24 reported doing so. Almost 31 percent of self-reported unpaid caregivers and 22 percent of essential workers also said they harbored such thoughts. Hispanic and Black respondents similarly were well above the average.