Suicide rates increase during COVID-19 pandemic

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The number of Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs) involving potentially suicidal individuals increased in San Diego from 16 in 2019 to 43 from March 1 through Aug. 31, according to City Attorney Mara W. Elliott.

These dates correspond to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders.

GVROs are court orders for the removal of firearms from individuals who threatened to harm themselves or others.

Recent GVROs have involved a man who suffers from PTSD and other mental health conditions who became depressed after a job loss and a man who could not pay his rent.

In the United States, 40 percent of adults say the pandemic is harming their mental health. This risk is greatest for those who suffer from drug and alcohol abuse, chronic pain, or mental illness, and is made worse by isolation, the loss of jobs and income, and fear of contracting coronavirus.

Guns are used in slightly more than 50 percent of suicide attempts nationwide, with 85 percent of these attempts being fatal.

For those between the ages of 13 and 34, the suicide attempt occurs within five minutes of the decision 25 percent of the time, according to a study.

Last year, there were 48,344 suicides nationwide, and 429 in San Diego County.

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