Kaplan on Mitigating Youth Suicide Risk During Pandemic

Professor of Social Welfare Mark Kaplan was featured in a Press-Enterprise article about the increase in suicide risk among young people during the COVID-19 pandemic. While there has been a decline in adult suicides since the beginning of the pandemic, data show that suicides among minors have stayed consistent or increased compared to before the pandemic. Many experts have expressed concern that social isolation, distance learning and other pandemic stresses are hitting young people especially hard. Crisis hotlines have experienced an increase in calls from young people suffering mental health problems. Kaplan, who has been studying suicide for decades, explained that young people who were already more likely to consider killing themselves are more vulnerable now, including LGBTQ youth, those suffering abuse, homeless youth, those with substance abuse problems, those living in foster homes or those growing up in poverty. “There’s a physical isolation that’s taking its toll,” he said. “It’s leading to despair.”


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