Germany Lockdown Saw up to Three-Fold Increase in Child Suicide Attempts

BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 10: Child holds protective mask as he and his schoolmates learn o
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The number of suicide attempts amongst children increased threefold during Germany’s second lockdown, according to estimates in a university hospital report.

Around three times as many children in Germany attempted suicide during the nation’s second lockdown, according to a study by Essen University Hospital.

The study was based on data gathered from 27 children’s intensive care units within the country, with the gathered data then extrapolated to provide a final figure.

According to a report by Der Spiegel, the study concludes that somewhere between 450 to 500 suicide attempts were made by children and adolescents during the period of Germany’s second lockdown.

“That is three times as many suicide attempts in 2021 as in the comparative period from mid-March to the end of May in the years 2017 to 2019,” Prof. Christian Dohna-Schwake of Essen University Hospital told Bild.

Der Spiegel goes on to note that the extrapolated data could possibly be inflated due to some children’s intensive care units in the federal republic being primarily intended for premature newborns.

However, it is also noted that the study does not take into account suicide attempts made by older children and teens who end up in adult intensive care units, instead of ones designated for very young children.

The study is also unable to take into account the number of unreported cases in the country, according to Bild.

While issues with the study nevertheless remain, its results reflect warnings made by other experts.

“I’m not surprised that the number of suicide attempts is said to have risen,” one expert, Psychologist Marion Schwarz of the BKJ Association — which represents child and adolescent psychotherapists in Germany — told Der Spiegel. “Many colleagues report that the demand for therapies has increased enormously.”

Children in Germany are far from the only group experiencing an increase in suicide numbers after periods of sustained lockdown.

Der Spiegel notes that reports from Japan, Switzerland and the United States have all shown the number of suicides amongst women and young girls significantly increased over the past year.

Spain meanwhile saw its highest number of suicides in 2020 since records began, with nearly 4,000 people taking their own lives during the period.

Suicides amongst children under the age of 15 in the country doubled within this same period.

As numbers rapidly increase, one company has announced that its new suicide pod, designed to assist people in taking their own life, could be ready for the Swiss market from as early as sometime this year.

The capsule, called Sarco, is reportedly designed to induce “a peaceful, even euphoric death” through oxygen depletion.


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