There are glimmerings on the horizon that the Covid-19 epidemic might eventually lead to an improved medical and public health infrastructure. Racial disparities in Covid-19 fatality rates are highlighting the need to address disparities in health conditions and health care access. The navigation of daily life during the pandemic highlights disparities in socioeconomic status, where staying home is, in so many ways, a privilege.
With luck and leadership and the actions of many, our country’s experience with Covid-19 can lead to positive changes to address homelessness, joblessness, food and housing insecurity, and the many other social issues that plague our society and may increase suicide risk. We can hope that the Covid-induced shift to telemedicine will increase availability to services for mental health and addiction. We can hope for — and demand — resources for comprehensive suicide prevention programs like the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs PREVENTS initiative.