Nicola Sturgeon’s draconian COVID-19 rules caused children to attempt to take their own lives and parents to consider “suicide pacts”, a public inquiry heard. The Telegraph has the story.
On Tuesday the first day of evidence in the Scottish COVID-19 inquiry heard harrowing testimony of the impact lockdown had on the lives of vulnerable Scots, including young people with learning disabilities and care home residents treated as “prisoners”.
While some victims expressed sympathy for the U.K.’s need to enter lockdown in March 2020, they claimed groups at high risk from the virus were later unfairly prioritised over people with other health conditions.
While Scotland went into lockdown at the same time as the rest of the U.K., Ms. Sturgeon was generally far slower to ease restrictions and reopen society.
The Scottish inquiry is examining the devolved Government’s response to the crisis.
Amber Galbraith KC, representing the learning disability charity PAMIS, said that a “vital framework of support” had collapsed with the imposition of lockdown.
She claimed some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland had been left “abandoned, forgotten and invisible” by the Scottish Government, as services they relied on were abruptly axed.
“Another mother expressed concern about care arrangements for her son if she and her husband became ill with Covid themselves,” Ms. Galbraith said.
“She was told the only option would be for him to be placed in a care home. Some families became so worried that they considered suicide pacts.”
The inquiry heard an account of a mother whose 12-year-old autistic son had been “managing” academically and was “a generally happy boy who was coping with life” before lockdown.
He has since attempted to take his own life five times, the inquiry heard, after the routines and structures he had previously relied upon disappeared overnight.
Rachel Holt, representing groups including the National Autistic Society Scotland, said: “The child’s anxiety increased and he believed that if a person caught Covid they would die or end up in hospital hooked up on machines.”
“The child withdrew from family life. He withdrew from his parents and when restrictions eased, from wider family such as his grandparents. When school started, he struggled with the mask mandate and the constant changes to the rules.
“The child’s first suicide attempt was not treated appropriately and in the [mother’s] view was dismissed with inadequate treatment. It was only after the child’s third attempt on his life that he was referred to a psychiatrist.”
But in the immortal words of Baroness Hallett: “If there’s a possible benefit, what’s the downside?”
Worth reading in full.