Leo Sher, M.D.
Our review, “Suicide prevention in the covid-19 era” was published in Preventive Medicine online ahead of print on September 16, 2021 and included in the November 2021 print issue of the Journal (1). A summary of our article is below:
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the health of people all around the world including mental health as social isolation which has been one of the best infection mitigation efforts is strongly associated with anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide attempts. These feelings are consistent with past pandemics where there was loss of routine and sociability. Suicidality has been on the rise in the United States and it is within this context that the pandemic has struck. With the risk of suicide being increased, preventative measures need to be implemented at the universal, selective and indicated levels. Universal suicide prevention is needed for the population as a whole regardless of their risk of suicide. Selective prevention is for subgroups at an increased risk and lastly indicated prevention corresponds to people at a very high risk, for example those with recent suicide attempts. Telemedicine, informative and responsible media, as well as monetary help from governments, banks and other major institutions can all help with suicide prevention during the pandemic. These resources can broadly help the population at large, but more targeted approaches will be needed for high risk individuals including those with psychiatric diagnoses, COVID-19 survivors, frontline healthcare workers and the elderly. Additionally, those with recent suicide attempts should warrant even more attention.
1. Rothman S, Sher L. Suicide prevention in the covid-19 era. Prev Med. 2021 Nov;152(Pt 1):106547. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106547. Epub 2021 Sep 16.