LONDON — Sunny, driven and with a new engineering master’s degree in hand, Joshua Morgan was hopeful he could find a job despite the pandemic, move out of his mother’s house and begin his life.
But as lockdowns in Britain dragged on and no job emerged, the young man grew cynical and self-conscious, his sister Yasmin said. Mr. Morgan felt he could not get a public-facing job, like working at a grocery store, because his mother, Joanna, had open-heart surgery last year, and Mr. Morgan was “exceptionally careful” about her health.
He and his mother contracted the coronavirus in January, forcing them to quarantine in their small London apartment for over two weeks. Concerned by things he was saying, friends raised the alarm and referred him to mental health services.
But days before the end of his quarantine last month, Mr. Morgan, 25, took his own life. “He just sounded so deflated,” his sister said of their last conversation, adding that he said he felt imprisoned and longed to go outside.
Japan saw a spike in suicide among women last year, and in Europe mental health experts have reported a rise in the number of young people expressing suicidal thoughts. In the United States, many emergency rooms have faced surges in admissions of young children and teenagers with mental health issues.
Mental health experts say prolonged symptoms of depression and anxiety may prompt risky behaviors that lead to self-harm, accidents, or even death, especially among young people.
weigh the risks of depression if they impose new virus restrictions. And public health officials in some areas that have seen a surge of adolescent suicides have pushed for schools to reopen, although researchers say it is too early to conclusively link restrictions to suicide rates.