Suicide Story

Theodora Danso, an emergency frontline clinician for Northeast Kingdom Human Services. (Photo by CHRISTOPHER ROY)

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought an uptick of Northeast Kingdom residents seeking mental health assistance from Northeast Kingdom Human Services (NKHS). In some cases, young children have talked about dying by suicide.

“The pandemic was difficult for a lot of people, especially for those who already had mental health illness,” said Theodora Danso, an emergency frontline clinician Northeast Kingdom Human Services (NHKS). “Just being cooped up in one space filled some people with stressed and feeling anxious about when it was going to end.”

 The pandemic also affected kids, Danso said. She explained that students couldn’t go to school where they can receive support and be with their friends.

 “All of the sudden, they were stuck at home,” she said. Danso said that many kids wondered if it would ever end because a few months could seem like an eternity for them. “We had to screen a lot of kids.”

 Most of the children demographics NHKS saw were teenagers, but they did see some as young as four which Danso said surprised her.

 “You can read so many books or play so many video games before you get bored, and boredom leads to other things,” she said. “Some kids who didn’t have past behavioral started acting up because they had a lot of energy.”

 For some, it was more than acting up.

 “Some kids attempted to kill themselves,” Danso said. “It was really difficult hearing a kid not seeing the point of living anymore and going to the extent they rather die.”

 The assessments left Danso wondering if she did everything possible for the child even though she knows she does her job well.

 “Nobody should feel like that, but kids especially,” she said. “A nine-year-old telling you they are suicidal, want to kill themselves, or going to the extent trying to kill themself. It was difficult to hear.”

 Danso said one teenager told her that he could see his peers in person but still had to physical distance. During the conversation with the youngster, he talked about haveing suicidal thoughts even though he never felt that way before.

See the full story in Thursday's Newport Daily Express

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