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1.
Front Psychiatry ; 12: 797601, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581142

ABSTRACT

Aims: We aimed to determine whether there has been a change in the number of suicides occurring in three Australian states overall, and in age and sex subgroups, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and to see if certain risk factors for suicide have become more prominent as likely underlying contributing factors for suicide. Method: Using real-time data from three state-based suicide registers, we ran multiple unadjusted and adjusted interrupted time series analyses to see if trends in monthly suicide counts changed after the pandemic began and whether there had been an increase in suicides where relationship breakdown, financial stressors, unemployment and homelessness were recorded. Results: Compared with the period before COVID-19, during the COVID-19 period there was no change in the number of suicides overall, or in any stratum-specific estimates except one. The exception was an increase in the number of young males who died by suicide in the COVID-19 period (adjusted RR 1.89 [95% CI 1.11-3.23]). The unadjusted analysis showed significant differences in suicide in the context of unemployment and relationship breakdown during the COVID-19 compared to the pre-COVID-19 period. Analysis showed an increase in the number of suicides occurring in the context of unemployment in the COVID-19 period (unadjusted RR 1.53 [95% CI 1.18-1.96]). In contrast, there was a decrease in the number of suicides occurring in the context of relationship breakdown in the COVID-19 period (unadjusted RR 0.82 [95% CI 0.67-0.99]). However, no significant changes were identified when the models were adjusted for possible over-dispersion, seasonality and non-linear trend. Conclusion: Although our analysis found no evidence of an overall increase in suicides after the pandemic began, the picture is complex. The identified increase in suicide in young men indicates that the impact of the pandemic is likely unevenly distributed across populations. The increase in suicides in the context of unemployment reinforces the vital need for mitigation measures during COVID-19, and for ongoing monitoring of suicide as the pandemic continues.

2.
Autism Res ; 14(12): 2663-2676, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1427062

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of the world's population, with particularly negative effects on vulnerable populations, including autistic people. Although some consensus regarding specific impact on aspects of wellbeing and mental health in autism is starting to emerge, it is unclear whether the pandemic has increased suicide risk. The goals of this study were to examine (a) potential associations between COVID-19 impact and depression, personal wellbeing, and suicide risk factors in Australian autistic adults and (b) age and gender effects. The COVID-19 Impact Scale (CIS), Personal Wellbeing Index, Patient Health Questionnaire, and the Suicide Behavior Questionnaire, Revised (SBQ-R), were administered to 111 autistic adults aged 20 to 71 years during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. COVID-19 impact showed small associations with poorer personal wellbeing (r = -0.224, p = 0.023, [-0.409, -0.016]) and higher depressive symptoms (r = 0.268, p = 0.006, [0.056, 0.445]) and was not associated with the SBQ-R suicide risk score (r = 0.081, p = 0.418, [-0.118, 0.264). No significant effects were identified for age. Although model results were similar for women and men, the strength of the associations between personal wellbeing and depression (z = -2.16, p = 0.015), and depression and SBQ-R suicide risk (z = 1.961, p = 0.025), were stronger in women than in men. Qualitative analysis of an open response question from the CIS suggested that the pandemic had both positive and negative impacts on participants. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a large impact on the mental health and wellbeing of the world's population, particularly vulnerable populations such as autistic people. It is not known if these impacts on mental health and wellbeing have increased suicide risk. Our findings suggest that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may be associated with poorer wellbeing and higher depression, but is not associated with suicide risk. Overall, autistic people reported both positive and negative impacts of the pandemic on their lives.


Subject(s)
Autism Spectrum Disorder , Autistic Disorder , COVID-19 , Suicide , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , Depression/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2
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