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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


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.