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Suicide trends in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic: an interrupted time-series analysis of preliminary data from 21 countries / Jane Pirkis, Ann John, Sangsoo Shin, Marcos del Pozo Banos, Vikas Arya, Pablo Analuisa-Aguilar, Louis Appleby, Ella Arensman, Jason Bantjes, Anna Baran, Jose M Bertolote, Guilherme Borges, Petrana Brečić, Eric Caine, Giulio Castelpietra, Shu-Sen Chang, David Colchester, David Crompton, Marko Curkovic, Eberhard A Deisenhammer, Chengan Du, Jeremy Dwyer, Annette Erlangsen, Jeremy S Faust, Sarah Fortune, Andrew Garrett, Devin George, Rebekka Gerstner, Renske Gilissen, Madelyn Gould, Keith Hawton, Joseph Kanter, Navneet Kapur, Murad Khan, Olivia J Kirtley, Duleeka Knipe, Kairi Kolves, Stuart Leske, Kedar Marahatta, Ellenor Mittendorfer-Rutz, Nikolay Neznanov, Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, Emma Nielsen, Merete Nordentoft, Herwig Oberlerchner, Rory C O’Connor, Melissa Pearson, Michael R Phillips, Steve Platt, Paul L Plener, Georg Psota, Ping Qin, Daniel Radeloff, Christa Rados, Andreas Reif, Christine Reif-Leonhard, Vsevolod Rozanov, Christiane Schlang, Barbara Schneider, Natalia Semenova, Mark Sinyor, Ellen Townsend, Michiko Ueda, Lakshmi Vijayakumar, Roger T Webb, Manjula Weerasinghe, Gil Zalsman, David Gunnell, Matthew J Spittal

The Lancet Psychiatry, Volume: 8, Issue: 7, Pages: 579 - 588

Swansea University Authors: Ann John, Marcos del Pozo Banos

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Abstract

BackgroundThe COVID-19 pandemic is having profound mental health consequences for many people. Concerns have been expressed that at its most extreme, this may manifest itself in increased suicide rates.MethodsWe sourced real-time suicide data from around the world via a systematic internet search an...

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Published in: The Lancet Psychiatry
ISSN: 2215-0366
Published: Elsevier BV 2021
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa56357
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Abstract: BackgroundThe COVID-19 pandemic is having profound mental health consequences for many people. Concerns have been expressed that at its most extreme, this may manifest itself in increased suicide rates.MethodsWe sourced real-time suicide data from around the world via a systematic internet search and recourse to our networks and the published literature. We used interrupted time series analysis to model the trend in monthly suicides prior to COVID-19 in each country/area-within-country, comparing the expected number of suicides derived from the model with the observed number of suicides in the early months of the pandemic. Countries/areas-within countries contributed data from at least 1 January 2019 to 31 July 2020 and potentially from as far back as 1 January 2016 until as recently as 31 October 2020. We conducted a primary analysis in which we treated 1 April to 31 July 2020 as the COVID-19 period, and two sensitivity analyses in which we varied its start and end dates (for those countries/areas-within-countries with data beyond July 2020).OutcomesWe sourced data from 21 countries (high income [n=16], upper-middle income [n=5]; whole country [n=10], area(s)-within-the-country [n=11]). In general, there does not appear to have been a significant increase in suicides since the pandemic began in the countries for which we had data. In fact, in a number of countries/areas-within-countries there appears to have been a decrease.InterpretationThis is the first study to examine suicides occurring in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple countries. It offers a consistent picture, albeit from high- and upper-middle income countries, of suicide numbers largely remaining unchanged or declining in the early months of the pandemic. We need to remain vigilant and be poised to respond if the situation changes as the longer-term mental health and economic impacts of the pandemic unfold.
College: Swansea University Medical School
Issue: 7
Start Page: 579
End Page: 588