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London Ambulance Callouts to Suicides and Attempted Suicides Increased in Lockdown


London Ambulance Service callouts to suicides or suicide attempts have almost doubled in a year, with the organisation saying it had seen a rise in the number of visits related to mental health issues since the start of the pandemic.

On Wednesday, LAS revealed that it is seeing an average of 37 callouts to suicide or suicide attempts a day, compared to 22 in the same period last year and 17 just five years ago.

It has been revealed that, between April and September — after Prime Minister Boris Johnson began a series of lockdowns and social distancing rules in March — the ambulance service has seen 6,846 suicide emergencies. The highest number of callouts by demographic was males aged 21-25.

Further,  LAS reported last week an increase in the calls out for mental health issues since the March lockdown. Some one-in-ten callouts had a mental health element.

A University of Glasgow study published this month in the British Journal of Psychiatry revealed that one in ten people had suicidal thoughts during the first six weeks of lockdown, rising by two per cent. Researchers said that while it may seem like a small increase, it was significant given the short space of time it grew. Suicide charity the Samaritans called the research “stark”, adding that the figures “leave us with no doubt Covid-19 has had a detrimental impact on the nation’s mental health”.

The Office of National Statistics revealed in August that nearly one-in-five (19 per cent) Britons reported feeling some kind of depression in June, nearly doubling on the preceding nine months to March 2020, when 10 per cent of people reported feeling depressed.