Father Who Lost Son to Suicide Warns About the Devastating Impact of School Closures

Posted: Feb 03, 2021 9:05 PM
Father Who Lost Son to Suicide Warns About the Devastating Impact of School Closures

Source: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

A father whose son committed suicide is sounding the alarm over the current mental health state of teenagers. 

Dylan Buckner was an 18-year-old high school football player, an honor student, who committed suicide in January. He had 14 offers from colleges and a bright future ahead of him. His father spoke to Fox News' Brian Kilmeade about the tragic impact the current lockdowns are having on students. 

Chris Buckner believes if the current pandemic was handled differently his son would still be alive. He believes there's a need now to flatten the curve of suicide deaths brought on by school closures and seemingly endless lockdowns. 

"I've learned so much since Dylan died with people reach out and things like the schools being closed and kids not being able to play football, other extracurricular activities, not just sports, is absolutely contributing to suicides," said Buckner.

Buckner said In Cook County, Illinois, where his family lives, some 30 students age 18-and-under have committed suicide since schools were closed early last year. 

"The lockdowns are absolutely having a devastating effect on the youth across America," said Buckner, citing data from across the country. 

Buckner is urging parents to check in on their children, warning that signs of depression and suicidal thoughts may be hard to detect as children have become more isolated. 

"Anybody you love, tell them you love them, and live life today because nobody is promised tomorrow," Buckner said. 

While coronavirus deaths are tracked in real-time, information on suicides during the unprecedented lockdowns has been slow coming. The data that has come in points to a rise in suicides since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Suicide hotlines have been inundated since the first coronavirus lockdowns took effect early last year. 

A CDC report found that 11 percent of American adults had seriously considered suicide in the month of June, around double the rate from the previous summer. 

CBS News reported in September that suicides last year were up as much as 20 percent in the U.S. Military when compared to the same time period in 2019. 

At the end of May, following several weeks of painful lockdowns, hundreds of doctors signed a letter to President Trump warning about the negative health consequences of prolonged lockdowns, calling such events a "mass casualty incident." 

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