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1.
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.

2.
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.

3.
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.

4.
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.

5.
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.

6.
Lancet Psychiatry ; 8(7): 579-588, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1683800

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic is having profound mental health consequences for many people. Concerns have been expressed that, at their most extreme, these consequences could manifest as increased suicide rates. We aimed to assess the early effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide rates around the world. METHODS: We sourced real-time suicide data from countries or areas within countries through a systematic internet search and recourse to our networks and the published literature. Between Sept 1 and Nov 1, 2020, we searched the official websites of these countries' ministries of health, police agencies, and government-run statistics agencies or equivalents, using the translated search terms "suicide" and "cause of death", before broadening the search in an attempt to identify data through other public sources. Data were included from a given country or area if they came from an official government source and were available at a monthly level from at least Jan 1, 2019, to July 31, 2020. Our internet searches were restricted to countries with more than 3 million residents for pragmatic reasons, but we relaxed this rule for countries identified through the literature and our networks. Areas within countries could also be included with populations of less than 3 million. We used an interrupted time-series analysis to model the trend in monthly suicides before COVID-19 (from at least Jan 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020) in each country or area within a country, comparing the expected number of suicides derived from the model with the observed number of suicides in the early months of the pandemic (from April 1 to July 31, 2020, in the primary analysis). FINDINGS: We sourced data from 21 countries (16 high-income and five upper-middle-income countries), including whole-country data in ten countries and data for various areas in 11 countries). Rate ratios (RRs) and 95% CIs based on the observed versus expected numbers of suicides showed no evidence of a significant increase in risk of suicide since the pandemic began in any country or area. There was statistical evidence of a decrease in suicide compared with the expected number in 12 countries or areas: New South Wales, Australia (RR 0·81 [95% CI 0·72-0·91]); Alberta, Canada (0·80 [0·68-0·93]); British Columbia, Canada (0·76 [0·66-0·87]); Chile (0·85 [0·78-0·94]); Leipzig, Germany (0·49 [0·32-0·74]); Japan (0·94 [0·91-0·96]); New Zealand (0·79 [0·68-0·91]); South Korea (0·94 [0·92-0·97]); California, USA (0·90 [0·85-0·95]); Illinois (Cook County), USA (0·79 [0·67-0·93]); Texas (four counties), USA (0·82 [0·68-0·98]); and Ecuador (0·74 [0·67-0·82]). INTERPRETATION: This is the first study to examine suicides occurring in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple countries. In high-income and upper-middle-income countries, suicide numbers have remained largely unchanged or declined in the early months of the pandemic compared with the expected levels based on the pre-pandemic period. We need to remain vigilant and be poised to respond if the situation changes as the longer-term mental health and economic effects of the pandemic unfold. FUNDING: None.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Global Health , Models, Statistical , Suicide/statistics & numerical data , Developed Countries/statistics & numerical data , Humans
7.
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.

8.
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.

9.
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
10.
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
11.
Lancet Psychiatry ; 8(7): 579-588, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1284642

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic is having profound mental health consequences for many people. Concerns have been expressed that, at their most extreme, these consequences could manifest as increased suicide rates. We aimed to assess the early effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide rates around the world. METHODS: We sourced real-time suicide data from countries or areas within countries through a systematic internet search and recourse to our networks and the published literature. Between Sept 1 and Nov 1, 2020, we searched the official websites of these countries' ministries of health, police agencies, and government-run statistics agencies or equivalents, using the translated search terms "suicide" and "cause of death", before broadening the search in an attempt to identify data through other public sources. Data were included from a given country or area if they came from an official government source and were available at a monthly level from at least Jan 1, 2019, to July 31, 2020. Our internet searches were restricted to countries with more than 3 million residents for pragmatic reasons, but we relaxed this rule for countries identified through the literature and our networks. Areas within countries could also be included with populations of less than 3 million. We used an interrupted time-series analysis to model the trend in monthly suicides before COVID-19 (from at least Jan 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020) in each country or area within a country, comparing the expected number of suicides derived from the model with the observed number of suicides in the early months of the pandemic (from April 1 to July 31, 2020, in the primary analysis). FINDINGS: We sourced data from 21 countries (16 high-income and five upper-middle-income countries), including whole-country data in ten countries and data for various areas in 11 countries). Rate ratios (RRs) and 95% CIs based on the observed versus expected numbers of suicides showed no evidence of a significant increase in risk of suicide since the pandemic began in any country or area. There was statistical evidence of a decrease in suicide compared with the expected number in 12 countries or areas: New South Wales, Australia (RR 0·81 [95% CI 0·72-0·91]); Alberta, Canada (0·80 [0·68-0·93]); British Columbia, Canada (0·76 [0·66-0·87]); Chile (0·85 [0·78-0·94]); Leipzig, Germany (0·49 [0·32-0·74]); Japan (0·94 [0·91-0·96]); New Zealand (0·79 [0·68-0·91]); South Korea (0·94 [0·92-0·97]); California, USA (0·90 [0·85-0·95]); Illinois (Cook County), USA (0·79 [0·67-0·93]); Texas (four counties), USA (0·82 [0·68-0·98]); and Ecuador (0·74 [0·67-0·82]). INTERPRETATION: This is the first study to examine suicides occurring in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple countries. In high-income and upper-middle-income countries, suicide numbers have remained largely unchanged or declined in the early months of the pandemic compared with the expected levels based on the pre-pandemic period. We need to remain vigilant and be poised to respond if the situation changes as the longer-term mental health and economic effects of the pandemic unfold. FUNDING: None.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Global Health , Models, Statistical , Suicide/statistics & numerical data , Developed Countries/statistics & numerical data , Humans
13.
Wellcome Open Research ; 2020.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-827190

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.

14.
ProQuest Central; 2020.
Preprint in English | ProQuest Central | ID: ppcovidwho-2104

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 - 1 Apr 2020) to investigate the impact of the pandemic and government measures to curit 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 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.

15.
Wellcome Open Res ; 5: 82, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-653053

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 - 1 Apr 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 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.

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