Before you draw out your swords and muskets, hear me out. Starting in June, a record number of young people started posting comments on articles and reaching out to me. I used to reply to about 5-9 messages per week from youth struggling with thoughts of suicide. Since June of this year, it’s about five per day.
What are they looking up? They are searching for specific ways to die, how to write a suicide note, and how to tell someone they are thinking of suicide. So they are coming here to this website, on a video I have on YouTube and an article on The Mighty. The rate of visitation has tripled. The good news is that when I comment on theirs, I get more replies than I have before.
At the same time, kids are reaching out so are parents. They are telling me their once lively, out-going kids are isolating, moody, and spending hours alone in their rooms. They are concerned and they should be. Shifts in personality that dramatic are warning signs.
I feel we are reaching a tipping point where isolation is more deadly than the disease.
I’m not advocating that we go to school like normal but that we have some kind of hybrid where the kids go in for at least two days per week. A friend of mine is a college professor. And she said, “What makes us different from all the other essential workers at grocery stores or on delivery trucks?” She thinks teachers are essential personnel, too which is an interesting point.
Regardless of that, I think we have enough knowledge, strategies, safety protocols to make two-day a week hybrid model happen. Alone, none of the virus defense strategies is enough. But with all of them, our risks are lower.