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The myth of lockdown suicides The pandemic has shown that loneliness and despair can be defeated by togetherness

by Mario Tama/Getty Images)


April 29, 2021   4 mins

There is a rope shop in Covent Garden that, back in 2011, I loitered outside on two or three occasions, trying to summon up the courage to go in, a bit like a 17 year old boy outside a sex shop. Thankfully, I never did. But even now, when I pass that way, a chill still flows through me. It was a close call. I would imagine who might find me, and how it might affect them.

Foolishly, I had allowed myself too much mental permission to fantasise about the where and the how. And, for a while, even this felt like a strange form of hope — a way of doing something about the darkness. At the end of a rope, everything would be forgotten.

Over the past year, suicide has become part of the public discourse about the lockdown. I do not want to conscript the pain of others, in all its harrowing specificity, into some general argument about whether the lockdown has caused a spike in suicide. But we have all heard so many examples of heart-breaking human misery that have been linked with the disruption. And, for some, there will surely have been a connection: jobs lost, crushing loneliness, more drinking, disrupted care, and worst of all domestic abuse. Indeed, in my pastoral role as a parish priest, I have been extremely worried about the declining mental health of some in my community, and where it might end up.

Politicians, from all shades of opinion, have tended to agree. “Suicides are up” insisted President Joe Biden, one of the few things with which he agreed with his predecessor. Just days after the first lockdown was announced, President Trump had warned of “suicides by the thousands”.

But the strange thing is that if you look at the data, it is not at all clear that lockdown has increased the rate of suicide. In an article published last month in the British Medical Journal, “What has been the effect of covid-19 on suicide rates”, Louis Appleby, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manchester, writes that reports from several countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Sweden and the US, “carry [a] consistent message. Suicide rates have not risen”.

A recent paper in The Lancet Psychiatry reached a similar conclusion: “Suicide numbers 
 remained largely unchanged or declined in the early months of the pandemic.” And the same seems to be true about figures coming in from this country too. Only Japan seems to have experienced a statistically verifiable jump in the suicide rate.

There are caveats, of course. One suicide is a suicide too may, and for those who have lost loved ones, the wider statistical evidence and the overall numbers are all rather beside the point. Moreover, in this country, suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 45 — over 6,000 people die of it every year in the UK.

But, on a societal level, there may be something significant going on here nonetheless. The narrative that lockdown leads to suicide feels intuitively convincing, but it is a narrative not backed up by evidence. Could there be another story to tell?

Professor Appleby allows himself cautiously to speculate: “Perhaps, as well as the risks, there have been protections. We may have been more careful in lockdown to stay in touch, more alert to warning signs. In the face of a crisis, there may have been a greater sense of community, of getting through it together. Perhaps a belief too that it would soon be over, so that the distress that many felt did not become that most dangerous of moods, despair.”

This makes some sense to me. When I was at my lowest, standing outside that rope shop, I felt so profoundly alone. Yes, that was mostly my doing; like others in this situation, I did my best to push people away. But I would scroll through the numbers in my mobile phone and not have a clue who I might call. They were all busy getting on with their lives — why would I burden them with my bleakness? But the funny thing about lockdown is that there is a much greater sense that we are all going through it together. And this allows us to speak about our pain in a more open way.

Over lockdown, my modest church community has grown in numbers and attendance. Before it all began, our little midweek communion service would attract two or three at best. This week we had over a dozen in church and nearly 20 on zoom. And the nature of the conversations people have been having with each other before and after the service feel so much more mutually supportive. I am not citing this as evidence that there is some mini-religious revival going on in South London; more that people are keen to seek each other out, and speak more openly about what they are going through. In this little corner of the world at least, I believe we have become a much more supportive community. There is a different quality to the words “You alright?” — now more a genuine question than a simple greeting.

And yes, hope too. I will inevitably gloss this as a religious thing — I am a priest, after all. But for all that people have gone through, there remains a sense that, as St Paul put it in his letter to the Romans: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Okay, for some of us, this glory is a white table cloth and a fancy menu — or something equally secular-sounding.

But these things do channel hope. As it happens, my favorite Soho Italian restaurant, Vasco and Piero’s Pavilion, has just closed down after 40 years. Passing by this week, their familiar welcoming sign has come down and the tables and chairs were being ripped out, a miserable scene. The landlord wouldn’t budge on the rent, and they could survive no longer. Yet for all this, they tweeted out yesterday, defiantly: “We will be back!!”

I don’t know how to evidence hope – it’s very different from optimism, for example. More about attitude than expectation, perhaps. But put it this way, I felt this year’s Easter resurrection sermon had a lot more people nodding and Alleluia-ing than in previous years. The challenge for the church — and for others too — will be not to allow this rising sense of hope to wash away all that solidarity in joint adversity that has bonded so many of us over this last year.

One must be cautious about suicide statistics, and what they explain or don’t. But I, too, can’t help but wonder whether the reason they have not spiked is that we have found, in our various little platoons, religious or otherwise, more determined ways of sharing each other’s burdens.

You can call Samaritans for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.


Giles Fraser is a journalist, broadcaster and Vicar of St Anne’s, Kew.

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Fiona Cordy
Fiona Cordy
3 years ago

I am not suicidal but I have never felt more distant from what is known as society as over the last 12 months.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Cordy

Hear hear

Daphne A
Daphne A
3 years ago

Look for this article, Fall in registered suicides amid pandemic inquest delays – ONS which discusses the delays in inquests and tell us again that suicides have fallen. “The ONS said the fall “most likely reflects delays to coroner inquests, because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as opposed to a genuine decrease in suicide”.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Daphne A

The grift goes on.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago

It’s unrelenting.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Daphne A

It is indeed the case that suicide statistics are slow to come through, because of the need for an inquest before the death can be classified as suicide. However, the results are in for the first six months of the pandemic and show no increase.

Mark Rothermel
Mark Rothermel
3 years ago

Was this article purposefully tone deaf?
Ludicrous premise to think there has been any value in locking down healthy people. If there are people that see empowering petty tyrants and wearing useless face nappies while we embolden all large companies and destroy the small, then those people have the social disorders.
Many people who had zero issues with depression and anxiety have been through very tough months with nary a care from our government. The fact they did not end their lives is somehow a win?
Simply saying, “aw shucks” as a 40 year restaurant shuttered is beyond the pale ludicrous. The “fun” begins now for the proprietor with collector calls, selling things at salvage, and never a rest to settle things out. 10X the work with the “bonus” of not making a penny while doing it. But yes, sorry you have to get takeout from somewhere else…
Focus on the fact that this was the biggest public policy disaster of the century. Focus on the fact that we as people were too weak to join with those that tried to fight it.

Connie T
Connie T
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Rothermel

Spot on!

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Rothermel

Giles Fraser is always an interesting thinker, but unfortunately hasn’t written the politicised ‘lockdown sceptic’ article you think he should have done! (Even though that’s already been written numerous times on Unherd and elsewhere).

As so many do on here, you rather snidely attribute views to authors you have no evidence at all they hold – “Aw Shucks” clearly Giles Fraser couldn’t care less about people losing their jobs, could he?

He was writing about whether or not suicide has increased and around that whole subject.

I tend to think that a number of libertarian or similar commentators on here are angry that one of their main rhetorical arguments, a concern about suicide and mental health (that they have expressed previously in no other context) is at the very least not as simpl(-istic) as they claim.

We do know that human beings can be extremely resilient, and bad things happening doesn’t necessarily increase the rate of suicide, or it can even do the opposite. Giles Fraser explored one of the reasons that might be, a feeling of solidarity and fighting a common enemy.

Last edited 3 years ago by Andrew Fisher
a c
a c
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Rothermel

“Focus on the fact that this was the biggest public policy disaster” EVER! 

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

Suicides are not the only markers of individual and social isolation, lost livelihoods, reduction in incomes, loss of hope and increase of poverty. Many more people are grappling with mental illness – anxiety and depression. How many will pull through. Then a personal observation – people have aged far more quickly during lockdowns.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

‘people have aged far more quickly during lockdowns.’

I have worked throughout the lockdowns and had around 70k encounters with people of all ages since March 2020.

Many of my customers are elderly and some have fared better than others, my 88 year old father being one of them, but I can fully endorse your faster aging observation and I would even go so far as to suggest that it has expedited the premature demise of some.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

Completely agree with this, I’ve seen it in my neighbours and parents: healthy people in their early 70s seem to have aged a decade in a year.

J A Thompson
J A Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

I am now 73. I reckon the last year/18 months has played havoc with myself and my partner, mentally and physically, and there will be many others in the same boat.

MHD
MHD
3 years ago
Reply to  J A Thompson

Absolutely, I made this observation to my partner, I feel lime it’s really taken a toll, and I am a lot more grey !

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago

If memory serves the majority of suicides are by men and the biggest age group of men taking their lives is in the 40-45 age group. The age at which men divorce is 42. Coincidence perhaps but I’d suggest if we’re bothered about who’s killing themselves and why then we might take a look at how poorly men are treated in divorce.
But we won’t of course.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

We haven’t seen the worst effects of lockdown yet… Wait for the job losses, inflation and collapsed businesses to set in, and people realise that we’ll be paying fo this for 50 years. That’s when the suicides will really go up

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Yup. Economic harm always manifests into harm to health. Always. It happened after the last recession, too. A paper by a team from Duke, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins predicts close to a million deaths that would otherwise not occur.

martin_evison
martin_evison
3 years ago

Not sure I like the by-line as I don’t believe they are a myth and I believe Coroners Courts have a backlog. Even if there is a net fall in suicides, that’s hardly reassuring for those lost where lockdown is a factor

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  martin_evison

There is a backlog of inquests but not a year long backlog. Reliable stats are available up to last autumn. There has been no increase in suicides, even though the trend over recent years is rising.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

A positive article, I hope it’s right and genuinely glad to hear that Giles Fraser was able to overcome his demons in 2011, but one should remember that it’s really what will happen economically and socially ‘after’ the pandemic when much of the impossible to sustain state support is withdrawn and, as Daphne A rightly commented, even the ONS website acknowledges that these ‘falls’ are likely a reflection of systemic delays in coroner inquests due to coronavirus.

Matt Coffey
Matt Coffey
3 years ago

It’s incredible how many peer reviewed published papers have shown evidence that lockdowns and other NPIs have had little or no effect on the number of deaths per million throughout the pandemic. They get ignored because people don’t want to admit they’ve been mugged off. Not sure it’s the same reason the paper on suicides has been ignored but I suspect it will take far longer for families and friends and enquiries to voice the truths of the desperate.

Last edited 3 years ago by Matt Coffey
Adam C
Adam C
3 years ago

Sadly the whole premise of the article is probably wrong – reporting of suicides has yet to catch up with reality, as Lockdown has delayed coroner’s inquests
https://lockdownsceptics.org/2021/04/26/registered-suicides-in-england-fell-in-2020-because-inquests-were-delayed-during-lockdowns/

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Adam C

The fact that the apparent fall in the number of suicides is due to delayed inquests does not mean there has been an increase. There hasn’t – and this applies to many other developed countries, except Japan.
https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/03/10/louis-appleby-what-has-been-the-effect-of-covid-19-on-suicide-rates/

Michael Hollick
Michael Hollick
3 years ago

But the funny thing about lockdown is that there is a much greater sense that we are all going through it together.
I’d suggest the opposite. The deliberate policy by the “health” establishment and government to separate people and keep them separated for as long as possible has had an – it seems to me – obvious detrimental effect on mental health and general wellbeing.
My partner and I are materially well-off, and extremely grateful to be in that position, but we have both been driven to near-despair by the ongoing restrictions.

Last edited 3 years ago by Michael Hollick
Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

when a deliberate policy has a foreseeable outcome, you have to question is the outcome is not also intentional. In the US, we had admonitions to avoid holiday gatherings with family, our president treats the upcoming independence day as something requiring a permission slip from him, and the ongoing masking serves to “erase the face” when people venture out to go about their business.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
3 years ago

I personally have met more depressed people and people that have attempted suicide during this period than ever. So I am very skeptical of the position of the author …

Daphne A
Daphne A
3 years ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

I spent quite a bit of time during the first lockdown trying to work out when ending it all would make more sense than continuing to live in this madhouse.
When the mandatory mask order came in during the summer, when it would be of no use at all, I realised that being angry was a better use of my time, and would help me survive, out of sheer cussedness, if nothing else.

Sue Ward
Sue Ward
3 years ago

Firstly there seems good evidence that the suicide rate is being distorted by delays to inquests. Secondly, and purely anecdotal, my own impression is of far more suicides than normal. Not just acquaintances of friends and reports on local social media but simply the number of people jumping off, or trying to jump off, bridges over our nearby dual carriageway.

Last edited 3 years ago by Sue Ward
Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

A myth? Suicides have increased in Japan, of all places, a nation where suicide is not seen as it is in the West. Mental health issues abound; are we to cheer because not all of those people have taken a permanent approach to a temporary issue? You cannot have a population that is more or less forced to live under house arrest and NOT have some impact on mental health.

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
3 years ago

To be recorded as “suicide” in official records, there must be a Coroner’s investigation. Under normal cirmstances, this introduces a delay of up to 6 months between occurence and registration. Coroner’s inquiries have essentially collapsed under the transfer of medical priority from normal life to an illness largely affecting those who have lived longer than the average human lifespan. That is why there is not yet any statistical evidence.
This is a misleading article, on a tragic phenomenon. EDITOR: please remove it from publication.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Lyon

Please read this article by someone who studies suicide statistics for a living and whose data does not rely on inquest findings.
https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/03/10/louis-appleby-what-has-been-the-effect-of-covid-19-on-suicide-rates/

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Is that peer reviewed or just one person’s opinion?

Richard Spicer
Richard Spicer
3 years ago

It should be mentioned that the suicide rate in children has increased in the last year.

Mark Rothermel
Mark Rothermel
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Spicer

Spot on. Watching parents create irrational fear in their kids while prohibiting them from any activities is nothing short of child abuse.

Richard Spicer
Richard Spicer
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Rothermel

And primary schools should never have closed. There was no scientific evidence that this was necessary. I presume it was because Boris decided to avoid a fight with the teacher unions who were flexing their muscles over this.

colinkingswood4
colinkingswood4
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Spicer

Looking at Florida, Sweden, and various other places that did not lock down, it seems that none of the totalitarian measures were necessary

Jeff Mason
Jeff Mason
3 years ago

In the US, I would not be surprised if all those increased suicides were labeled as COVID deaths. If you die of a heart attack but test positive for COVID, you’re a COVID death. Cancer but positive? COVID death. Crash a motorcycle while positive? COVID death. In Colorado, a felon was killed in a shootout with police. You guessed it – COVID death. We may never find out the real numbers for increased suicides.

tom_byrne_is
tom_byrne_is
3 years ago

Terrible title, especially from a ‘priest’ and on a subject like this.
Remember this data is only a small part of the overall picture. The sharing of ‘burdens’ is true, but you haven’t mentioned the work of the crisis teams and families who are currently at breaking point with the ‘burden’ of keeping people alive.
You need to have a good look at this subject more widely and yourself.

Last edited 3 years ago by tom_byrne_is
Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
3 years ago

It’s naive wishful thinking to say suicides are down since Covid.
Although it could help to justify being party to such destructive ripples from the restrictions.
Also naive is to say we are all in this together – my experience is quite the opposite with a widening of polarisation.
Of course suicides have increased or will increase. This is a case where common sense and wisdom have to override that interpretation of the data.
If the data sounds counterintuitive then maybe it’s wrong!

Last edited 3 years ago by Michael Hanson
Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

No one has claimed suicides are down. But many people have predicted that they would shoot up and they haven’t. These irresponsible claims are hardly likely to improve the nation’s mental health, so need to be challenged. Here’s some actual data:
https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/03/10/louis-appleby-what-has-been-the-effect-of-covid-19-on-suicide-rates/

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
3 years ago

Giles Fraser wrote:
“A recent paper in The Lancet Psychiatry reached a similar conclusion: “Suicide numbers 
 remained largely unchanged or declined in the early months of the pandemic.” And the same seems to be true about figures coming in from this country too.”
(My emphases)
And my comments about ‘actual data’ stand.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

I had no idea there was such a thing as a “rope shop”. I’ve never bought a rope in my life, how do they stay in business? Are there a lot of rock climbers and bond*ge fans in Covent Garden?

Last edited 3 years ago by Mike Boosh
Richard Powell
Richard Powell
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

It’s presumably the yacht chandler’s called Arthur Beale which has been around for centuries https://arthurbeale.co.uk/pages/about-us

MHD
MHD
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Powell

I know the place, I’ve bought rope there! I think he calls it ‘a rope shop’ to add drama.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

The gods conceal from men the happiness of death, that they may endure life. *

(* Marcus Annaeus Lucanus -Lucan)

Last edited 3 years ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago

Suicide requires initiative and motivation. Paradoxically, an increase in clinical depression (which tends to suppress initiative and motivation) might actually suppress suicide while the misery is amplified.

steve horsley
steve horsley
3 years ago

the issue of depression has been widely discussed during lockdown but i was under the impression that suicide had been under reported.i find it hard to accept that there hasn t been a spike and i presumed that it was just the msm once again getting behind johnson and his goons to protect lockdown.surely a significant rise would wake up the lockdown sheep and make them question the whole lockdown farce.

John Chestwig
John Chestwig
3 years ago

I much prefer to go by statistics rather than anecdotes, so it will be interesting to see what the data says in due course, provided that some suicides aren’t disgracefully hidden as covid deaths.

Returning to anecdote though, perhaps it’s just because the question arises more often or perhaps it’s the nature of my work, but I have never encountered in my entire life, so many stressed, upset and damaged people. I know very few who are directly affected by covid, but all are affected by the press coverage, school closures and lockdowns.

Even if suicides aren’t up in the last year, it’s a mental health timebomb.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
3 years ago

Here in Canada, at least as far as I can tell, suicides did not rise, but overdose deaths spiked very significantly. And OD deaths far outnumber suicides in any given year, so this was very significant as a cause of death in younger age groups.
And the question that arises is: are they all that different? As a doc I see people drinking/drugging themselves slowly to death every day. My wife (a psychiatrist) and I refer to it as “slow suicide”. I know it’ll kill me, but I don’t really care enough to stop.
So did the pandemic increase suicides? Depends on how you define suicide.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Milburn

Good point. ODs can be suicides, and you would not necessarily know it.

Dave Tagge
Dave Tagge
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Milburn

Similar story in the U.S. Reported suicide deaths in 2020 declined by ~2,700. Reported unintentional injury deaths – which include overdoses, and logically could also pick up some suicides not attributed as such – increased by ~19,000.
The U.S. CDC doesn’t yet have final 2020 annual totals for drug overdose deaths, but numbers through Sept. 2020 support the trend of ~20,000 increase year-over-year.

Ted Krasnicki
Ted Krasnicki
3 years ago

Ummm….Appleby’s BMJ article has not been peer reviewed, nor has the BMJ article it mainly cites. What is the Lancet Psychiatry article, where is the reference? Unherd has lowered its standards I see.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago

As we hopefully see the end of the pandemic and its associated ills, we need to focus on rebuilding our futures and maintaining the few positive aspects. Some people cynically sneer about “wartime spirit” but it is true that for the most part the sense of community has strengthened and been a strength during the period. If we focus on what unities us as a people rather than what divides us, we can eventually emerge stronger as a country than we were before. However to do this we need to immunise ourselves against the deadly woke virus which has also been spreading unchecked and potentially enabled by lockdown.

Jonathan Patrick
Jonathan Patrick
3 years ago

Partly due to the fact that “unintentional deaths” due to drug overdose are not included as suicides but often are. Here is a counter to this article – https://swprs.org/lockdowns-fewer-suicides-in-2020/.

Pierre Henri
Pierre Henri
3 years ago

What about Thailand ?
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/high-suicide-rate-region-thailand-grapples-mental-health-covid-14430142
However, a decline in suicide rates during a major catastrophe is not uncommon :

Dresden lost more people in one night than London did over the entire war. But remarkably, Allied reports revealed that German morale remained the highest among the cities that were the most bombed. Instances of unity and resilience among the war-weary are not uncommon. In 1897, sociologist Emile Durkheim observed notable decreases in suicide among European nations enmeshed in war and revolution. In both the Second Schleswig War (1864) and Austro-Prussian War (1866), rates of suicide declined by 16 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

https://quillette.com/2019/04/07/what-doesnt-kill-us-brings-us-together/

Last edited 3 years ago by Pierre Henri
Karen Jemmett
Karen Jemmett
3 years ago

Perhaps many of those who’ve lost their jobs or incomes can rest easy in the knowledge that it’s not a personal failure, but an unprecedented National crisis. I guess it’s easier to tell the Mrs or the In-Laws that we’re all in this together… rather than being shunned by the rest of the platoon?

a c
a c
3 years ago

“The pandemic has shown that loneliness and despair can be defeated by togetherness”
No Giles, this pandemic COULD have been defeated by real science and a lot of honest analysis from the media. Instead what was concocted, at the very least, was loneliness and despair on an industrial scale. Keep your faux sanctimony to yourself, you’re not convincing anyone here and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

“But the funny thing about lockdown is that there is a much greater sense that we are all going through it together.”
This may be true in the UK but not in the US. When we see Nancy Pelosi sneaking into a closed hair salon in violation of SF Covid restrictions, we don’t think we’re going through this together. Same when we see Gavin Newsom dining out with numerous people at expensive restaurants while other restaurants have their doors padlocked and their desperate owners arrested for trying to stay afloat to feed their families. When we see Gretchen Whitmer strong arming corporate plane owners to fly her to Florida when she demands others not even visit their vacation homes in her own state and sneaking around to get her boat pulled from storage and readied to go when she is telling others not to leave their homes. Together? Not hardly.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago

A myth eh, well….

My daughters friend’s father killed himself a few weeks in to the first lockdown. Not because he was suicidal.
Towards the end of 2019 he expanded his successful business and took loans out to do this, remortgaging the family home as collateral.
Then lockdown and the almost complete cessation of trade and commerce. He couldn’t trade but still had the loan repayments to make.
It all became too much, he couldn’t go bankrupt because that would mean loosing the family home, he couldn’t keep up the loan repayments because he had no income. So the loan was called in. He was going to lose the family home, meaning his wife and 3 children as well as himself would in effect be homeless.
But, if he was to die the terms of the loan changed such that the family home would not be included in the liquidation. So he drowned himself in the river.

Please do not up vote this.

Last edited 3 years ago by Nigel Clarke
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.*

(*Quintus Horatius Flaccus – Horace)

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago

Nothing sweet and fitting about it at all. He didn’t die for his country, the actions of his country killed him

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. *

(* John. 15:13)

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago

Better.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

Rather than tamper with Horace I had hoped that some might have interpreted “ pro patria “ for home, rather than homeland.

Sadly you are correct that HMG destroyed your daughter’s friend, just as it will inevitably destroy thousands more, without a backward glance.

However, there will be a day of reckoning, there always is.

Daphne A
Daphne A
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

This isn’t the first story I’ve read about people ending it all after finding themselves in desperate circumstances because of the government’s actions. All sad. All unnecessary.

Chris Eaton
Chris Eaton
3 years ago

I can’t speak for the UK, but here in the States, suicide statistics are not kept on a daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis. One might think that such statistics would be important….but then, why waste money keeping stats on the dead. There’s no money in that. And yes, I am being deeply sarcastic and truthful at the same time.

Last edited 3 years ago by Chris Eaton
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Eaton

The CDC tracks and publishes US suicide data annually. I’d post a link but Unherd doesn’t appear to allow them. It’s called the Data and Statistics Fatal Injury Report. They also publish a quarterly report.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
eugene power
eugene power
3 years ago

Suicide is painless.
1 in 3 people with covid have no symptoms.
Is there any evidence for either of these statements, one of which is pumped out by HM gov ?

GA Woolley
GA Woolley
3 years ago

One of the most overlooked achievements of Boris over the past 18 months is his relentless positivity. Despite all the problems, for all of which there are only ‘less bad’ solutions the best of which are not even identifiable in hindsight; all the vilification; the smear campaigns (wallpaper, FFS); and the backstabbing, Boris has stuck to it when most would have folded, and set an example of working towards a better future rather than feeling sorry for himself or the country.

a c
a c
3 years ago
Reply to  GA Woolley

Wow, just wow….