Chris Buckner, whose son Dylan Buckner committed suicide in January, told “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday that the stress caused by Chicago‘s coronavirus restrictions, including school closures and the inability to participate in school sports, “contributed” to his son’s death.
“Depression and potential suicide thoughts are very hard to see,” Buckner said while speaking with Brian Kilmeade.”You really have to talk to your kids, really, really talk to them, and kids you have to talk to your friends.”
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Buckner, whose son was the captain and quarterback of his high school football team when he took his own life, also urged kids to not be “ashamed of suicide thoughts,” likening depression and suicide to any other disease that should be treated with medication and therapy.
In Cook County, Illinois, where the family resides, Buckner noted that 30 children ages 18 and under committed suicide since last March, while five passed as a result of coronavirus. He said that we need to “flatten the curve” in regards to the rise of adolescent suicides across the U.S. by lifting restrictions that could be contributing to suicide in young adults. He said the effects of lockdowns have been “devastating” for young people.
He concluded that his son’s suicide was the “worst thing that could happen to anybody” and that “nobody is promised tomorrow.”
Another student-athlete, Trevor Till, who was training to go the pole vaulting state championship in Chicago, Illinois, but was unable to due to coronavirus restrictions, also committed suicide in October. His mother is suing Gov. JB Pritzker, stating that COVID isolation “changed Trevor from who he was to the person that did this.”
Dr. Jennifer Hoffman, who works at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago, said during an interview with WGN-TV that adolescents admitted to the hospital for suicide attempts in Chicago have spiked. She cited social isolation, a lack of support systems from teachers and peers, as well as limited access to mental health resources as contributing to the rise in suicidal behavior.
A recent CDC study from August found that 25% of young adults in the US between the ages of 18 and 24 thought about committing suicide in that past month.
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The recent spike in suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts is particularly startling, given that the CDC also reported that between 2018 and 2019, these stats had decreased by 2.1%.