April 29, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Suicides in Queens have soared since COVID-19 broke out.
The rate has doubled in the past six weeks compared to the same period in 2019, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
The alarming numbers come at a time when Queens is being hit hard by the virus. The borough has experienced more COVID-19 confirmed deaths than any other in the city.
There were 16 reported suicides in Queens County between March 15 and April 28, the data shows. By comparison, there were eight suicides in Queens County for the same period last year – March 15, 2019 – April 28, 2019.
The figures indicate that COVID-19 – which has killed as many as 5,000 borough residents – is also having an emotional impact on the World’s Borough.
“There is a mental health component to this health crisis that needs our attention,” Queens District Attorney’s Melinda Katz said in a statement.
“Since this pandemic began the numbers of suicides in Queens County have soared, she said.
The statewide economic shutdown began on March 22 but restrictions on mass gathering had gone into effect in the city earlier. Mayor de Blasio shuttered bars and restaurants on March 17, except for takeout and delivery. Schools closed on March 16.
Katz said that nobody is immune from the emotional distress of the virus and called on residents to look out for one another.
“Check in on each other because nobody should be alone in this and there is absolutely no shame in reaching out for help.”