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​Donald Trump Defends His Push to Re-Open the Country Saying 'Staying at Home Leads to Death Also'

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.

The global pandemic that's upended daily life in the United States has resulted in over 16 million new unemployment claims as restaurants, bars, offices, and other non-essential businesses close their doors or cut their staff.

With the economy a crucial talking point in favor of his reelection, President Donald Trump has expressed an eagerness to reopen businesses and end the stay-at-home orders implemented across the nation—even if it would lead to increased death and a resurgence of the outbreak.


Over 17,000 people in the United States have succumbed to the virus and that number continues to grow.

When confronted with that reality at a Friday press briefing, the President made the case for reopening the country by saying that staying at home leads to death also.

Watch below.

Trump said:

"Staying at home leads to death also. It's very traumatic for this country. But staying at home, if you look at numbers, that leads to a different kind of death, perhaps ...so it's a very big decision. It's the biggest decision I will ever make"

The decision Trump refers to isn't actually his decision at all. Stay-at-home orders were implemented by state governors with whom Trump has quarreled on Twitter and whom he said should only rely on the federal government as a backup. Trump has yet to issue a nationwide stay-at-home order, so there isn't one for him to revoke.

People couldn't believe what they were hearing.





It's true that calls to suicide prevention hotlines spiked after stay-at-home orders were implemented. However, preventing deaths from the virus and preventing suicides aren't mutually exclusive choices.

Mental health should undoubtedly be addressed during such a tumultuous time in the nation, and using mental health concerns to justify letting a viral contagion run rampant is an insult to their validity.

It's possible to allocate more resources to mental health facilities in a similar way that we've allocated more resources to hospitals for physical conditions. In fact, lawmakers have already done this in the CARES act. The $2.2 trillion stimulus package allocated over a billion dollars to mental health resources and repealed regulations that made it more difficult to see a mental health practitioner through video conferencing.

The American Psychological Association praised the mental health allocations included in the CARES Act.

If Trump has evidence that suicides will lead to a comparable amount of deaths as the global pandemic, he should state that and address it directly instead of alluding to unspecified numbers without elaboration.

Some thought he was talking about a metaphorical death.



Who even knows anymore?

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/.