Suicide behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic: A meta-analysis of 54 studies

May 13, 2021

Justin P Dubé , Martin M Smith, Simon B Sherry, Paul L Hewitt, Sherry H Stewart

Psychiatry Research

A meta-analysis with exploratory analysis and quantitative research was carried out to investigate the relationship between COVID-19 and suicidal behaviors, in which it was hypothesized that there was a significant increase in the rates of suicidal ideation, attempts and self-injury. A total of 54 studies with 62 samples published in 2020 were used, showing 308,596 participants, being as mean age 34 years with a mean percentage of women 57.5% and white participants 66.3%, located in the Asia-Australia region with 46.8%, North America with 24.2%, Western Europe with 21.0%, Eastern Europe with 3. For suicidal behavior, we assessed the presence of suicidal ideation in 55 samples, suicide attempts in 13 and self-injury in 9. We found that COVID-19 and confinement are related to an increase in suicidal behavior, including suicidal ideation, attempts and self-injury, and suggested that younger people, women and people from democratic countries are more vulnerable to suicidal ideation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the limitations, most of the studies were cross-sectional, so there was an absence of longitudinal studies that prevents making statements about changes before and after the pandemic, as well as the population was limited to the generalization of the results and, finally, no reliable data on suicide samples were obtained, so there is also an absence within the analysis.

Dubé JP, Smith MM, Sherry SB, Hewitt PL, Stewart SH. Suicide behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic: A meta-analysis of 54 studies. Psychiatry Research 2021; 301: 113998.