A British man has taken his own life after being unable to cope with the stress of being shuttered inside due to coronavirus social-distancing, Yahoo News U.K. reports. The man was known to have had underlying mental health issues.
The United Kingdom is under strict orders that limit how often people can be outside of their homes. That meant that Daniel Furniss, 34, was effectively confined to his home in Waterlooville, Hampshire. What’s more, since he had diabetes, he was considered a “high-risk person” and was under even tighter restrictions that limited his movement even more.
Further, Mr. Furniss had struggled with bi-polar disorder since he was a teenager.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Daniel’s sister, Chelsea, noted that Mr. Furniss started signaling on social media that the lockdown was a stress on his mental health.
“When the official lockdown was announced he shared a few things on his social media page about how he felt like he was going to be in trouble getting through this, and that there was no guidance released for people with serious mental health conditions, especially if they were on their own. He found it very hard,” she said.
A few days before he died, Daniel had written on social media about the toll the isolation was taking on his mental health.
“There is not enough guidance for people with mental health issues,” he wrote.
Chelsea and the rest of her family had been keeping contact with Daniel via video-conferencing calls. However, they became concerned when he stopped answering.
On March 27, the family called police to do a welfare check at his home. There, they found him dead of an apparent suicide.
Chelsea says that she hopes that her brother’s death will drive home the importance of supporting people with mental health issues during these stressful times.
“More could be done to help people who are struggling while self-isolating. Hopefully what’s happened with Dan can raise awareness of these issues,” she says.
The family has created a GoFundMe page to raise money for his funeral. As of this writing, the crowdfunding effort has raised £2,881 (about $3,500) to cover his funeral. Unfortunately, only his parents and siblings will be able to attend the funeral due to social distancing.
In the U.S., as USA Today reports, Second Lady Karen Pence is now working as an ambassador for a suicide-prevention task force that’s been created to help Americans cope with the mental-health stresses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.