School Closures Resulted In Spike In Suicide Attempts Among Kids

by Kerry Dougherty

How is it that those of us without fancy degrees from prestigious universities or medical training intuitively KNEW that the Covid-19 lockdowns and school closures would have a profoundly negative effect upon kids?

I watched one of my nieces, who graduated from high school in 2021, spend her junior year at home, isolated from her friends and extended family. A future physician and excellent student, she sat alone, doing class work off of a computer screen. On top of that, her entire social structure was dismantled. There were no sleepovers or parties, no sports, dances or proms. When schools finally reopened she was seated more than 6 feet away from the nearest other student at lunch and if they dared speak to each other, a teacher would scream, “NO talking!”

All for a virus that barely affected kids, as we all knew from the earliest weeks of the pandemic.

I worried about her and her friends. Turns out, she’s OK. Some of her classmates? Not so much.

Last week, UVA Today published a study showing a sharp increase in the number of attempted suicides by children ages 10 to 19 from 2020 on.

The rate of suspected suicide attempts by poisoning among children and adolescents ages 10 to 19 reported to U.S. poison centers increased 30% during 2021 – the COVID-19 pandemic’s first full year – compared with 2019, a new UVA Health study found.

Attempted suicides continue to climb.

‘This significant increase in suicide attempts during the pandemic surprised us,’ said Dr. Christopher Holstege, medical director of the Blue Ridge Poison Center at UVA Health and chief of the Division of Medical Toxicology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. ‘We are alarmed at the dramatic increase in suicide attempts in such a young population, which continues to escalate, according to our data.’

With all due respect, how can Dr. Holstege possibly be surprised by the data? Does he not have children? Was he never a child himself?

Children do not thrive in isolation and they need fresh air and exercise. Every. Single. Day.

Even my uneducated grandmother and mother knew that.

I railed against school closings from the day the last governor, the loathsome Ralph Northam, shuttered them and then made it damn near impossible to reopen.

A handful of others saw what I saw.

We didn’t need to wait for the data to know that a terrible cost was being extracted from our children and grandchildren. Shoot, not only were they unable to go to school, but grandparents were being told their grandchildren could kill them, so they should stay away.

Some actually did.

I never bought that. Not because I’m smarter than the Dr. Holsteges of the world, but because I have common sense.

And I have enough common and news sense to know the headline on this UVA article is misleading:


Quit blaming the pandemic, knuckleheads. It was the lockdowns, government policies that caused emotional problems and the mental health crisis. If we’d left the kids alone, they would barely have noticed the pandemic.

Most of the children attempted to kill themselves by poisoning, either using acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

So what do the learned researchers at Virginia’s flagship university recommend?

Did they recommend that schools never again close? Did they recommend that state legislators pass laws that make it hard to turn off the lights on kids? Did they suggest that governors be limited in their power to shut down public education?


They want “heightened public education” about the “safe storage of over-the-counter medications.”


Common sense. UVA needs a dose.

Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.