A British teen who expressed fears about being isolated due to coronavirus prevention measures died Sunday, four days after she had tried to kill herself, according to British media outlets.
Emily Owen, 19, of Kings Lynn, a seaport town of 42,000 on the eastern coast of England, was found by her family Wednesday in “critically ill” condition following a suicide attempt, The Lynn News reported.
Owen was placed into a critical care ward at a nearby hospital, but the family chose to turn off her life-support system.
“Fear of the unknown may have driven her over the edge,” her family told The Sun.
“Emily was very concerned about the coronavirus itself but more concerned about the mental health impact of isolation and the fear of the unknown,” her 21-year-old sister Annabel posted online.
Emily Owen, who was diagnosed with high-functioning autism, signed up to be an organ donor at 12 and three children are reported to have benefited from her death.
“To many people, Emily was a really fun, energetic, happy girl, but only a few were aware of the many years of internal battles she had,” according to the family. “Few people are aware but four years ago she was diagnosed with high-functioning autism and had a daily battle to fit in and conform to social norms.”
According to the family, only days before her suicide attempt she warned “More people will die from suicide during this than the virus itself.”
The teen girl’s message sounds strikingly similar to remarks made this week by President Donald Trump.
Trump on Tuesday warned that the impact of prolonged coronavirus prevention measures, especially on the economy, would result in an increasing number of suicides.
“You’re going to lose more people by putting a country into a massive recession or depression. You’re going to lose people. You’re going to have suicides by the thousands,” the president said on Fox News Channel.
“We have to get our country back to work. Our country wants to be back at work,” Trump said. “This cure is worse than the problem. Again, people, many people – in my opinion more people – are going to die if we allow this to continue. We have to go back to work. Our people want to go back to work.”
The outbreak has infected more than 55,000 people in the United States and killed at least 800, shuttered thousands of businesses, thrown millions out of work and led state governors to order about 100 million people – nearly a third of the nation’s population – to stay at home.
Britain has more than 8,300 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection resulting in more than 430 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.