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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on self-harm and suicidal behaviour: update of living systematic review

Ann John Orcid Logo, Emily Eyles Orcid Logo, Roger T. Webb, Chukwudi Okolie Orcid Logo, Lena Schmidt Orcid Logo, Ella Arensman, Keith Hawton Orcid Logo, Rory C. O'Connor, Nav Kapur, Paul Moran, Siobhan O'Neill, Luke A. McGuinness Orcid Logo, Babatunde K. Olorisade Orcid Logo, Dana Dekel Orcid Logo, Catherine Macleod-Hall Orcid Logo, Hung-Yuan Cheng, Julian P.T. Higgins, David Gunnell

F1000Research, Volume: 9, Start page: 1097

Swansea University Authors: Ann John Orcid Logo, Chukwudi Okolie Orcid Logo, Dana Dekel Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused considerable morbidity, mortality and disruption to people’s lives around the world. There are concerns that rates of suicide and suicidal behaviour may rise during and in its aftermath. Our living systematic review synthesises findings from emerging lite...

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Published in: F1000Research
ISSN: 2046-1402
Published: F1000 Research Ltd 2021
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa59742
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Abstract: Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused considerable morbidity, mortality and disruption to people’s lives around the world. There are concerns that rates of suicide and suicidal behaviour may rise during and in its aftermath. Our living systematic review synthesises findings from emerging literature on incidence and prevalence of suicidal behaviour as well as suicide prevention efforts in relation to COVID-19, with this iteration synthesising relevant evidence up to 19th October 2020.Method: Automated daily searches feed into a web-based database with screening and data extraction functionalities. Eligibility criteria include incidence/prevalence of suicidal behaviour, exposure-outcome relationships and effects of interventions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Outcomes of interest are suicide, self-harm or attempted suicide and suicidal thoughts. No restrictions are placed on language or study type, except for single-person case reports. We exclude one-off cross-sectional studies without either pre-pandemic measures or comparisons of COVID-19 positive vs. unaffected individuals.Results: Searches identified 6,226 articles. Seventy-eight articles met our inclusion criteria. We identified a further 64 relevant cross-sectional studies that did not meet our revised inclusion criteria. Thirty-four articles were not peer-reviewed (e.g. research letters, pre-prints). All articles were based on observational studies.There was no consistent evidence of a rise in suicide but many studies noted adverse economic effects were evolving. There was evidence of a rise in community distress, fall in hospital presentation for suicidal behaviour and early evidence of an increased frequency of suicidal thoughts in those who had become infected with COVID-19.Conclusions: Research evidence of the impact of COVID-19 on suicidal behaviour is accumulating rapidly. This living review provides a regular synthesis of the most up-to-date research evidence to guide public health and clinical policy to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on suicide risk as the longer term impacts of the pandemic on suicide risk are researched.
Item Description: Systematic Review
Keywords: COVID-19, Living systematic review, Suicide; Attempted suicide, Self-harm, Suicidal thoughts
College: Swansea University Medical School
Funders: Grant information: This work was supported by Swansea University and the University of Bristol. DG, BKO, JPTH are supported by the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre [IS-BRC-1215-20011]. JPTH and EE are suported by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration West. LAMcG is by the NIHR through a NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship [DRF-2018-11-ST2-048]. LS is supported by the NIHR through a NIHR Systematic Reviews Fellowship [RM-SR-2017-09-028]. AJ and CO are supported by the Swansea University Cochrane Satellite for Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention. AJ is supported by the National Centre for Mental Health [HCRW-CA04] NK and RW are supported by the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre [PSTRC-2016-003]. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Start Page: 1097