Has the COVID-19 pandemic influenced suicide rates differentially according to socioeconomic indices and ethnicity? More evidence is needed globally

Roger T. Webb*, Ann John, Duleeka Knipe, Lana Bojanić, Dana Dekel, Emily Eyles, Amanda Marchant, Faraz Mughal, Jane Pirkis, Lena Schmidt, David J Gunnell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has harmed many people's mental health globally. Whilst the evidence generated thus far from high-income countries regarding the pandemic's impact on suicide rates is generally reassuring, we know little about its influence on this outcome in lower- and middle-income countries or among marginalised and disadvantaged people. There are some signals for concern regarding the pandemic's potentially unequal impact on suicide rates, with some of the affected demographic subgroups and regions being at elevated risk before the pandemic began. However, the evidence-base for this topic is currently sparse, and studies conducted to date have generally not taken account of pre-pandemic temporal trends. The collection of accurate, complete and comparable data on suicide rate trends in ethnic minority and low-income groups should be prioritised. The vulnerability of low-income groups will likely be exacerbated further by the current energy supply and cost-of-living crises in many countries. It is therefore crucial that reassuring messaging highlighting the stability of suicide rates during the pandemic does not lead to complacency among policymakers.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere72
Pages (from-to)e72
Number of pages4
JournalEpidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
Volume31
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
DG is supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol; FM, Doctoral Fellow, NIHR300957 is funded by the NIHR. RTW is supported by the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR, National Health Service (NHS) or the UK Department of Health and Social Care.

Funding Information:
DG is supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol; FM, Doctoral Fellow, NIHR300957 is funded by the NIHR. RTW is supported by the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR, National Health Service (NHS) or the UK Department of Health and Social Care.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 The Author(s).

Structured keywords

  • SASH

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