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1.
Br J Psychiatry ; : 1-10, 2022 Jul 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1933167

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Evidence on the impact of the pandemic on healthcare presentations for self-harm has accumulated rapidly. However, existing reviews do not include studies published beyond 2020. AIMS: To systematically review evidence on presentations to health services following self-harm during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHOD: A comprehensive search of databases (WHO COVID-19 database; Medline; medRxiv; Scopus; PsyRxiv; SocArXiv; bioRxiv; COVID-19 Open Research Dataset, PubMed) was conducted. Studies published from 1 January 2020 to 7 September 2021 were included. Study quality was assessed with a critical appraisal tool. RESULTS: Fifty-one studies were included: 57% (29/51) were rated as 'low' quality, 31% (16/51) as 'moderate' and 12% (6/51) as 'high-moderate'. Most evidence (84%, 43/51) was from high-income countries. A total of 47% (24/51) of studies reported reductions in presentation frequency, including all six rated as high-moderate quality, which reported reductions of 17-56%. Settings treating higher lethality self-harm were overrepresented among studies reporting increased demand. Two of the three higher-quality studies including study observation months from 2021 reported reductions in self-harm presentations. Evidence from 2021 suggests increased numbers of presentations among adolescents, particularly girls. CONCLUSIONS: Sustained reductions in numbers of self-harm presentations were seen into the first half of 2021, although this evidence is based on a relatively small number of higher-quality studies. Evidence from low- and middle-income countries is lacking. Increased numbers of presentations among adolescents, particularly girls, into 2021 is concerning. Findings may reflect changes in thresholds for help-seeking, use of alternative sources of support and variable effects of the pandemic across groups.

2.
J Affect Disord ; 307: 215-220, 2022 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1920986

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There has been substantial discussion as to whether the mental health and socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic might impact suicide rates. Although India accounts for the largest proportion of global suicides, the early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide rates in this country are unknown. METHODS: National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data were used to calculate annual suicide rates for the period 2010-2020, stratified by sex and state. Rate Ratios (RRs) stratified by sex and state were calculated to estimate the extent of change in suicide rates. RESULTS: Suicide rates in India generally showed a decreasing trend from 2010 until 2017, with the trend reversing after this period, particularly for males. Among males and females, the highest increase post 2017 was noted in 2020 (compared to 2017) (males: RR = 1.18 95% UI 1.17-1.19; females: RR = 1.05 95% UI 1.03-1.06). LIMITATION: Suicide rates based on the NCRB data might be an underestimation of the true suicide rates. CONCLUSION: Suicide rates in India increased during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and although the increase in suicide rates, especially among males, predates the pandemic, the increase in suicide rates was highest in 2020, compared to increases in previous years. Further research is warranted to understand the potential ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide in India.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Suicide , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , India/epidemiology , Male , Mental Health , Pandemics
3.
J Ment Health ; 31(4): 597-604, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1915384

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Ongoing concern for the unique mental health challenges faced by university students has been magnified by the disruption of the global COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. AIMS: This study aimed to investigate changes in mental health and wellbeing outcomes for UK university students since the pandemic began, and to examine whether more vulnerable groups were disproportionately impacted. METHODS: Students at a UK university responded to anonymous online cross-sectional surveys in 2019 (N = 2637), 2020 (N = 3693), and 2021 (N = 2772). Students completed measures of depression, anxiety and subjective wellbeing (SWB). Multivariable logistic regression models investigated associations of survey year and sociodemographic characteristics with mental health and SWB. RESULTS: Compared to 2019, fewer students showed high levels of depression and anxiety symptoms in 2020. However, there was evidence of worsened levels of anxiety and SWB in 2021 compared to 2019. Interaction effects indicated that students from a Black, Asian or minority ethnicity background and students previously diagnosed with a mental health difficulty showed improved outcomes in 2021 compared to previous years. CONCLUSIONS: There is a need for sector-wide strategies including preventative approaches, appropriate treatment options for students already experiencing difficulties and ongoing monitoring post-pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/epidemiology , Depression/psychology , Humans , Mental Health , SARS-CoV-2 , Students/psychology , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Universities
4.
Can J Psychiatry ; : 7067437221094552, 2022 May 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1832999

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a complex impact on risks of suicide and non-fatal self-harm worldwide with some evidence of increased risk in specific populations including women, young people, and people from ethnic minority backgrounds. This review aims to systematically address whether SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or COVID-19 disease confer elevated risk directly. METHOD: As part of a larger Living Systematic Review examining self-harm and suicide during the pandemic, automated daily searches using a broad list of keywords were performed on a comprehensive set of databases with data from relevant articles published between January 1, 2020 and July 18, 2021. Eligibility criteria for our present review included studies investigating suicide and/or self-harm in people infected with SARS-CoV-2 with or without manifestations of COVID-19 disease with a comparator group who did not have infection or disease. Suicidal and self-harm thoughts and behaviour (STBs) were outcomes of interest. Studies were excluded if they reported data for people who only had potential infection/disease without a confirmed exposure, clinical/molecular diagnosis or self-report of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result. Studies of news reports, treatment studies, and ecological studies examining rates of both SARS-CoV-2 infections and suicide/self-harm rates across a region were also excluded. RESULTS: We identified 12 studies examining STBs in nine distinct samples of people with SARS-CoV-2. These studies, which investigated STBs in the general population and in subpopulations, including healthcare workers, generally found positive associations between SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or COVID-19 disease and subsequent suicidal/self-harm thoughts and suicidal/self-harm behaviour. CONCLUSIONS: This review identified some evidence that infection with SARS-CoV-2 and/or COVID-19 disease may be associated with increased risks for suicidal and self-harm thoughts and behaviours but a causal link cannot be inferred. Further research with longer follow-up periods is required to confirm these findings and to establish whether these associations are causal.

5.
J Affect Disord Rep ; 6: 100271, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1828734

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the mental health of healthcare and social care workers, and its potential effect on suicidal thoughts and behaviour is of particular concern. METHODS: This systematic review identified and appraised the published literature that has reported on the impact of COVID-19 on suicidal thoughts and behaviour and self-harm amongst healthcare and social care workers worldwide up to May 31, 2021. RESULTS: Out of 37 potentially relevant papers identified, ten met our eligibility criteria. Our review has highlighted that the impact of COVID-19 has varied as a function of setting, working relationships, occupational roles, and psychiatric comorbidities. LIMITATIONS: There have been no completed cohort studies comparing pre- and post-pandemic suicidal thoughts and behaviours. It is possible some papers may have been missed in the search. CONCLUSIONS: The current quality of evidence pertaining to suicidal behaviour in healthcare workers is poor, and evidence is entirely absent for those working in social care. The clinical relevance of this work is to bring attention to what evidence exists, and to encourage, in practice, proactive approaches to interventions for improving healthcare and social care worker mental health.

6.
BMJ Open ; 12(4): e054061, 2022 04 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1774957

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Pesticide self-poisoning kills an estimated 110 000-168 000 people worldwide annually. Data from South Asia indicate that in 15%-20% of attempted suicides and 30%-50% of completed suicides involving pesticides these are purchased shortly beforehand for this purpose. Individuals who are intoxicated with alcohol and/or non-farmers represent 72% of such customers. We have developed a 'gatekeeper' training programme for vendors to enable them to identify individuals at high risk of self-poisoning (gatekeeper function) and prevent such individuals from accessing pesticides (means restriction). The primary aim of the study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the gatekeeper intervention in preventing pesticide self-poisoning in Sri Lanka. Other aims are to identify method substitution and to assess the cost and cost-effectiveness of the intervention. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A stepped-wedge cluster randomised trial of a gatekeeper intervention is being conducted in rural Sri Lanka with a population of approximately 2.7 million. The gatekeeper intervention is being introduced into 70 administrative divisions in random order at each of 30 steps over a 40-month period. The primary outcome is the number of pesticide self-poisoning cases identified from surveillance of hospitals and police stations. Secondary outcomes include: number of self-poisoning cases using pesticides purchased within the previous 24 hours, total number of all forms of self-harm and suicides. Intervention effectiveness will be estimated by comparing outcome measures between the pretraining and post-training periods across the divisions in the study area. The original study protocol has been adapted as necessary in light of the impact of the COVID-19. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The Ethical Review Committee of the Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Rajarata University, Sri Lanka (ERC/2018/30), and the ACCORD Medical Research Ethics Committee, Edinburgh University (18-HV-053) approved the study. Results will be disseminated in scientific peer-reviewed journals. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: SLCTR/2019/006, U1111-1220-8046.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pesticides , Commerce , Humans , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Rural Population , Sri Lanka/epidemiology
7.
Pirkis, Jane, Gunnell, David, Shin, Sangsoo, DelPozo-Banos, Marcos, Arya, Vikas, Analuisa Aguilar, Pablo, Appleby, Louis, Arafat, S. M. Yasir, Arensman, Ella, Ayuso-Mateos, Jose Luis, Balhara, Yatan Pal Singh, Bantjes, Jason, Baran, Anna, Behera, Chittaranjan, Bertolote, Jose, Borges, Guilherme, Bray, Michael, Brečić, Petrana, Caine, Eric D.; Calati, Raffaella, Carli, Vladimir, Castelpietra, Giulio, Chan, Lai Fong, Chang, Shu-Sen, Colchester, David, Coss-Guzmán, Maria, Crompton, David, Curkovic, Marko, Dandona, Rakhi, De Jaegere, Eva, De Leo, Diego, Deisenhammer, Eberhard, Dwyer, Jeremy, Erlangsen, Annette, Faust, Jeremy, Fornaro, Michele, Fortune, Sarah, Garrett, Andrew, Gentile, Guendalina, Gerstner, Rebekka, Gilissen, Renske, Gould, Madelyn, Gupta, Sudhir Kumar, Hawton, Keith, Holz, Franziska, Kamenshchikov, Iurii, Kapur, Navneet, Kasal, Alexandr, Khan, Murad, Kirtley, Olivia, Knipe, Duleeka, Kolves, Kairi, Kölzer, Sarah, Krivda, Hryhorii, Leske, Stuart, Madeddu, Fabio, Marshall, Andrew, Memon, Anjum, Mittendorfer-Rutz, Ellenor, Nestadt, Paul, Neznanov, Nikolay, Niederkrotenthaler, Thomas, Nielsen, Emma, Nordentoft, Merete, Oberlerchner, Herwig, O'Connor, Rory, Papsdorf, Rainer, Partonen, Timo, Michael, Phillips, Platt, Steve, Portzky, Gwendolyn, Psota, Georg, Qin, Ping, Radeloff, Daniel, Reif, Andreas, Reif-Leonhard, Christine, Rezaeian, Mohsen, Román-Vázquez, Nayda, Roskar, Saska, Rozanov, Vsevolod, Sara, Grant, Scavacini, Karen, Schneider, Barbara, Semenova, Natalia, Sinyor, Mark, Tambuzzi, Stefano, Townsend, Ellen, Ueda, Michiko, Wasserman, Danuta, Webb, Roger T.; Winkler, Petr, Yip, Paul S. F.; Zalsman, Gil, Zoja, Riccardo, John, Ann, Spittal, Matthew J..
SSRN; 2022.
Preprint in English | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-331684

ABSTRACT

Background When the COVID-19 pandemic began there were concerns that suicides might rise, but predicted increases were not generally observed in the pandemic’s early months. However, the picture may be changing and patterns may vary across demographic groups. We aimed to provide an up-to-date, granular picture of the impact of COVID-19 on suicides globally.Methods We identified suicide data from official public-sector sources for countries/areas-within-countries. We used interrupted time series (ITS) analyses to model the association between the pandemic’s emergence and total suicides and suicides by sex-, age- and sex-by-age in each country/area-within-country. We compared the observed number of suicides to the expected number in the pandemic’s first nine and first 10-15 months and used meta-regression to explore sources of variation.Findings We sourced data from 33 countries (24 high-income, six upper-middle-income, three lower-middle-income). There was no evidence of greater-than-expected numbers of suicides in the majority of countries/areas-within-countries in any analysis;more commonly, there was evidence of lower-than-expected numbers. Certain sex, age and sex-by-age groups stood out as potentially concerning, but these were not consistent across countries/areas-within-countries. In the meta-regression, different patterns were not explained by countries’ COVID-19 mortality rate, stringency of public health response, level of economic support, or presence of a national suicide prevention strategy. They were also not explained by countries’ income level, although the meta-regression only included data from high-income and upper-middle-income countries, and there were suggestions from the ITS analyses that lower-middle-income countries fared less well.Interpretation Although there are some countries/areas-within-countries where overall suicide numbers and numbers for certain sex- and age-based groups are greater-than-expected, these are in the minority. Any upward movement in suicide numbers in any place or group is concerning, and we need to remain alert to and respond to changes as the pandemic and its mental health and economic consequences continue.

8.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-328683

ABSTRACT

Background: While suicide rates in high- and middle-income countries appeared stable in the early stages of the pandemic, we know little about within-country variations. We sought to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on suicide in Mexico’s 32 states and to identify factors that may have contributed to observed variations between states. Methods: Interrupted time-series analysis to model the trend in monthly suicides before COVID-19 (from Jan 1, 2010, to March 31, 2020), comparing the expected number of suicides derived from the model with the observed number for the remainder of the year (April 1 to December 31, 2020) for each of Mexico’s 32 states. Next, we modeled state-level trends using linear regression to study likely contributing factors at ecological level. Results: Suicide increased across Mexico during the first nine months of the pandemic (RR 1.03;95%CI 1.01-1.05). Suicides remained stable in 19 states, increase in seven states (RR range: 1.12-2.04) and a decrease in six states (RR range: 0.46-0.88). Suicide RR at the state level was positively associated with population density in 2020 and state level suicide death rate in 2019. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic had a differential effect on suicide death within the 32 states of Mexico. Higher population density and higher suicide rates in 2019 were associated with increased suicide. As the country struggles to cope with the ongoing pandemic, efforts to improve access to primary care and mental health care services (including suicide crisis intervention services) in these settings should be given priority.

9.
ProQuest Central;
Preprint in English | ProQuest Central | ID: ppcovidwho-328222

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 19 th 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.

10.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327188

ABSTRACT

Background Evidence on the impacts of the pandemic on healthcare presentations for self-harm has accumulated rapidly. However, existing reviews do not include studies published beyond 2020. Aims To systematically review evidence on health services utilisation for self-harm during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods A comprehensive search of multiple databases (WHO COVID-19 database;Medline;medRxiv;Scopus;PsyRxiv;SocArXiv;bioRxiv;COVID-19 Open Research Dataset, PubMed) was conducted. Studies reporting presentation frequencies for self-harm published from 1 st Jan. 2020 to 7 th Sept. 2021 were included. Study quality was assessed using a critical appraisal tool. Results Fifty-one studies were included. 59% (30/51) were rated as ‘low’ quality, 29% (15/51) as ‘moderate’ and 12% (6/51) as ‘high-moderate’. Most evidence (84%, 43/51 studies) was from high-income countries. 47% (24/51) of studies reported reductions in presentation frequency, including all 6 rated as high-moderate quality, which reported reductions of 17- 56%. Settings treating higher lethality self-harm were overrepresented among studies reporting increased demand. Two of the 3 higher quality studies including study observation months from 2021 reported reductions in service utilisation. Evidence from 2021 suggested increased use of health services following self-harm among adolescents, particularly girls. Conclusions Sustained reductions in service utilisation were seen into the first half of 2021. However, evidence from low- and middle-income countries is lacking. The increased use of health services among adolescents, particularly girls, into 2021 is of concern. Our findings may reflect changes in thresholds for help seeking, use of alternative sources of support and variable effects of the pandemic across different groups.

11.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-314313

ABSTRACT

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is the largest acute public health emergency of this century. Government intervention to contain the virus focuses on non-pharmacological approaches such as physical distancing/lockdown (stay-at-home orders). As the situation develops, the impact of these measures on mental health and coping strategies in individuals and the population is unknown. Methods: We used Google Trends data (01 Jan 2020 to 09 Jun 2020) to explore the changing pattern of public concern in the UK to government measures as indexed by changes in search frequency for topics related to mental distress as well as coping and resilience. We explored the changes of specific topics in relation to key dates during the pandemic. In addition, we examined terms whose search frequency increased most. Results: Following lockdown, public concerns - as indexed by relative search trends - were directly related to COVID-19 and practicalities such as ‘furlough’ (paid leave scheme for people in employment) in response to the pandemic. Over time, searches with the most substantial growth were no longer directly or indirectly related to COVID-19. In contrast to relatively stable rates of searches related to mental distress, the topics that demonstrated a sustained increase were those associated with coping and resilience such as exercise and learning new skills. Conclusions: Google Trends is an expansive dataset which enables the investigation of population-level search activity as a proxy for public concerns. It has potential to enable policy makers to respond in real time to promote adaptive behaviours and deliver appropriate support.

12.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-314312

ABSTRACT

Background: The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic is a major international public health challenge.  Governments have taken public health protection measures to reduce the spread of the virus through non-pharmalogical measures. The impact of the pandemic and the public health response on individual and population mental health is unknown.  Methods: We used Google Trends data (1 Jan 2020 -  30 Mar 2020) to investigate the impact of the pandemic and government measures to curb it on people’s concerns, as indexed by changes in search frequency for topics indicating mental distress, social and economic stressors and mental health treatment-seeking. We explored the changes of key topics in Google trends in Italy, Spain, USA, UK, and Worldwide in relation to sentinel events during the pandemic. Results: Globally there appears to be significant concerns over the financial and work-related consequences of the pandemic, with some evidence that levels of fear are rising. Conversely relative searching for topics related to depression and suicide fell after the pandemic was announced, with some evidence that searches for the latter have risen recently. Concerns over education and access to medication appear to be particular social stressors. Whilst searches for face-to-face treatments have declined, those for self-care have risen. Conclusions: Monitoring Google trends shows promise as a means of tracking changing public concerns. In weeks to come it may enable policy makers to assess the impact of their interventions including those aiming to limit negative consequences, such as government funded financial safety nets.

13.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-313480

ABSTRACT

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread morbidity and mortality as well as disruption to people’s lives and livelihoods around the world;this has occurred as a result of both infection with the virus itself and the health protection measures taken to curb its spread. There are concerns that rates of suicide, suicidal behaviours and self-harm may rise during and in the aftermath of the pandemic. Given the likely rapidly expanding research evidence base on the pandemic’s impact on rates of suicide, suicidal behaviours and self-harm and emerging evidence about how best to mitigate such effects, it is important that the best available knowledge is made readily available to policymakers, public health specialists and clinicians as soon as is possible. To facilitate this, we plan to undertake a living systematic review focusing on suicide prevention in relation to COVID-19. Method: Regular automated searches will feed into a web-based screening system which will also host the data extraction form for included articles. Our eligibility criteria are wide and include aspects of incidence and prevalence of suicidal behaviour, effects of exposures and effects of interventions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, with minimal restrictions on the types of study design to be included. The outcomes assessed will be death by suicide;self-harm or attempted suicide (including hospital attendance and/or admission for these reasons);and suicidal thoughts/ideation. There will be no restriction on study type, except for single case reports. There will be no restriction on language of publication. The review will be updated at three-monthly intervals if a sufficient volume of new evidence justifies doing so. Conclusions: Our living review will provide 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. Protocol registration: PROSPERO CRD42020183326 01/05/2020

14.
J Affect Disord Rep ; 6: 100271, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1531514

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the mental health of healthcare and social care workers, and its potential effect on suicidal thoughts and behaviour is of particular concern. METHODS: This systematic review identified and appraised the published literature that has reported on the impact of COVID-19 on suicidal thoughts and behaviour and self-harm amongst healthcare and social care workers worldwide up to May 31, 2021. RESULTS: Out of 37 potentially relevant papers identified, ten met our eligibility criteria. Our review has highlighted that the impact of COVID-19 has varied as a function of setting, working relationships, occupational roles, and psychiatric comorbidities. LIMITATIONS: There have been no completed cohort studies comparing pre- and post-pandemic suicidal thoughts and behaviours. It is possible some papers may have been missed in the search. CONCLUSIONS: The current quality of evidence pertaining to suicidal behaviour in healthcare workers is poor, and evidence is entirely absent for those working in social care. The clinical relevance of this work is to bring attention to what evidence exists, and to encourage, in practice, proactive approaches to interventions for improving healthcare and social care worker mental health.

15.
J Affect Disord Rep ; 6: 100273, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1521225

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is concern about the impact of COVID-19, and the control measures to prevent the spread, on children's mental health. The aim of this work was to identify if there had been a rise of childhood suicide during the COVID pandemic. METHOD: Using data from England's National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) the characteristics and rates of children dying of suicide between April and December 2020 were compared with those in 2019. In a subset (1st January to 17th May 2020) further characteristics and possible contributing factors were obtained. RESULTS: A total of 193 likely childhood deaths by suicide were reported. There was no evidence overall suicide deaths were higher in 2020 than 2019 (RR 1.09 (0.80-1.48), p = 0.584) but weak evidence that the rate in the first lockdown period (April to May 2020) was higher than the corresponding period in 2019 (RR 1.56 (0.86-2.81), p = 0.144). Characteristics of individuals were similar between periods. Social restrictions (e.g. to education), disruption to care and support services, tensions at home and isolation appeared to be contributing factors. LIMITATIONS: As child suicides are fortunately rare, the analysis is based on small numbers of deaths with limited statistical power to detect anything but major increases in incidence. CONCLUSION: We found no consistent evidence that child suicide deaths increased during the COVID-19 pandemic although there was a possibility that they may have increased during the first UK lockdown. A similar peak was not seen during the following months, or the second lockdown.

16.
Arch Suicide Res ; : 1-6, 2021 Aug 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1366922

ABSTRACT

Emerging data from high and upper-middle-income countries indicate that suicide rates generally did not increase during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the pandemic's impact on suicide is complex. We discuss the nuances of this relationship, how it may evolve over time, and describe the specific steps that governments and societies must take to mitigate harm and prevent suicides in the late stages and aftermath of the pandemic.

17.
J Affect Disord ; 294: 737-744, 2021 Nov 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1340684

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Google Trends data are increasingly used by researchers as an indicator of population mental health, but few studies have investigated the validity of this approach during a public health emergency. METHODS: Relative search volumes (RSV) for the topics depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicide, suicidal ideation, loneliness, and abuse were obtained from Google Trends. We used graphical and time-series approaches to compare daily trends in searches for these topics against population measures of these outcomes recorded using validated self-report scales (PHQ-9; GAD-7; UCLA-3) in a weekly survey (n = ~70,000) of the impact COVID-19 on psychological and social experiences in the UK population (21/03/2020 to 21/08/ 2020). RESULTS: Self-reported levels of depression, anxiety, self-harm/suicidal ideation, self-harm, loneliness and abuse decreased during the period studied. There was no evidence of an association between self-reported anxiety, self-harm, abuse and RSV on Google Trends. Trends in Google topic RSV for depression and suicidal ideation were inversely associated with self-reports of these outcomes (p = 0.03 and p = 0.04, respectively). However, there was statistical and graphical evidence that self-report and Google searches for loneliness (p < 0.001) tracked one another. LIMITATIONS: No age/sex breakdown of Google Trends data available. Survey respondents were not representative of the UK population and no pre-pandemic data were available. CONCLUSION: Google Trends data do not appear to be a useful indicator of changing levels of population mental health during a public health emergency, but may have some value as an indicator of loneliness.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Public Health , Anxiety/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Search Engine
18.
Lancet Psychiatry ; 8(10): 892-900, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1331335

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is widespread concern over the impact of public health measures, such as lockdowns, associated with COVID-19 on mental health, including suicide. High-quality evidence from low-income and middle-income countries, where the burden of suicide and self-harm is greatest, is scarce. We aimed to determine the effect of the pandemic on hospital presentations for self-poisoning. METHODS: In this interrupted time-series analysis, we established a new self-poisoning register at the tertiary care Teaching Hospital Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, a lower-middle-income country. Using a standard extraction sheet, data were gathered for all patients admitted to the Toxicology Unit with self-poisoning between Jan 1, 2019, and Aug 31, 2020. Only patients classified by the treating clinician as having intentionally self-poisoned were included. Data on date of admission, age or date of birth, sex, and poisoning method were collected. No data on ethnicity were available. We used interrupted time-series analysis to calculate weekly hospital admissions for self-poisoning before (Jan 1, 2019-March 19, 2020) and during (March 20-Aug 31, 2020) the pandemic, overall and by age (age <25 years vs ≥25 years) and sex. Individuals with missing date of admission were excluded from the main analysis. FINDINGS: Between Jan 1, 2019, and Aug 31, 2020, 1401 individuals (584 [41·7%] males, 761 [54·3%] females, and 56 [4·0%] of unknown sex) presented to the hospital with self-poisoning and had date of admission data. A 32% (95% CI 12-48) reduction in hospital presentations for self-poisoning in the pandemic period compared with pre-pandemic trends was observed (rate ratio 0·68, 95% CI 0·52-0·88; p=0·0032). We found no evidence that the impact of the pandemic differed by sex (rate ratio 0·64, 95% CI 0·44-0·94, for females vs 0·85, 0·57-1·26, for males; pinteraction=0·43) or age (0·64, 0·44-0·93, for patients aged <25 years vs 0·81, 0·57-1·16, for patients aged ≥25 years; pinteraction=0·077). INTERPRETATION: This is the first study from a lower-middle-income country to estimate the impact of the pandemic on self-harm (non-fatal) accounting for underlying trends. If the fall in hospital presentations during the pandemic reflects a reduction in the medical treatment of people who have self-poisoned, rather than a true fall in incidence, then public health messages should emphasise the importance of seeking help early. FUNDING: Elizabeth Blackwell Institute University of Bristol, Wellcome Trust, and Centre for Pesticide Suicide Prevention. TRANSLATIONS: For the Sinhalese and Tamil translations of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Poisoning/psychology , Self-Injurious Behavior/psychology , Adult , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cost of Illness , Developing Countries/statistics & numerical data , Female , Hospitalization/trends , Humans , Incidence , Interrupted Time Series Analysis/methods , Male , Poisoning/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Self-Injurious Behavior/epidemiology , Sri Lanka/epidemiology , Suicide/prevention & control , Suicide/psychology
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