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.
TRUMP on ending social distancing: "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" pic.twitter.com/TM1AIR19OG
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 10, 2020
"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.
What????? https://t.co/5od0LKDPAq— San Carlos (@San Carlos)1586552625.0
I have exhausted my stockpile of evens with which to can’t. https://t.co/0uNi07lszV— Rick Wilson (@Rick Wilson)1586549181.0
That people can listen to this nitwit and still support him is mind-boggling. https://t.co/Uwh9v84Mpb— Michael Freeman (@Michael Freeman)1586548584.0
Speechless. "Staying at home leads to death also" https://t.co/jp5eHty5GG— Amr Khalifa (@Amr Khalifa)1586548729.0
No, no, no, this isn’t really happening. I must have been a terrible sinner when I was alive. https://t.co/mIHhvG5TQ7— David Parsons 🇺🇸 ☮️ 🇺🇸 (@David Parsons 🇺🇸 ☮️ 🇺🇸)1586552217.0
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.
Either way will lead to the death of his re-election chances. Just one way will have a higher body count. https://t.co/ZUZPLBw87e— grumpy independent (@grumpy independent)1586553345.0
He means the death of his presidency, not actual humans. https://t.co/9kSiUtvxfx— Andrea R MD (@Andrea R MD)1586548548.0
By death he means people like him stand to lose money which in their world is worse than death. Opening back up too… https://t.co/TjDe8tcNIN— Eric Daugherty (@Eric Daugherty)1586550631.0
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/.