Contrary to expectations, suicide rates have not increased during the pandemic

Although many mental health experts have predicted an increase in the number of suicides after the covid-19 pandemic, most research published in scientific journals indicates no change or a decrease in the rate.

This is the conclusion of a new study on the impact of covid-19 on death rates. suicide in underdeveloped countriescarried out by an institute of the Faculty of Medicine of Bristol, belonging to the University of Bristol, in England, disclosed recently in Global Public Health PLOS.

The survey, led by scientist Duleeka Knipe, was carried out by a group of scientists from around the world, including from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa and the Medical Research Council of South Africa (SAMRC).

according Daily Sciencethe team collected and synthesized data through a review of research on suicidal behaviors in underdeveloped countries, using multiple databases, in multiple languages.

“The Strongest Evidence” highlighted “a reduction or no change in suicide and self-harm” in underdeveloped countries after the pandemic, said researcher Jason Bantjes, of SAMRC and the University of Stellenbosch, one of the project participants .

These results, he continued, do not mean “that the pandemic did not cause social and psychological distress or economic hardship, but”, given the available evidence, show “that it did not. translated into an increase in suicidal behavior”.

Bantjes said this result is consistent with a previous study, published Nope Lancet Psychiatry in April, in which it was concluded that suicide rates in developed countries remained, in most cases, unchanged.. The data also showed that in some countries this decreased in the initial phase of the pandemic.

For Bantjes, the most surprising finding is the lack of reliable data on suicides in Africa, although “this is not at all surprising”, given that suicide “is not considered one of the greatest public health problems in the region”.

“Consequently, research on this issue has never been a priority, as it is in developed and Western countries, largely due to severe resource constraints and a number of health issues. urgent,” he continued.

He added: “Any impact of the pandemic on suicide rates in Africa is likely to be overshadowed by more visible health issues and by the increase in morbidity and mortality associated with other diseases whose care was interrupted when the already limited health services were closed to reintegrate medical personnel into emergency units and intensive care units to treat patients with covid-19″.

Bantjes said that in the absence of reliable epidemiological data on suicides in Africa, it is not possible to accurately assess the full impact of Covid-19 or plan prevention strategies in the region.

For the investigator, the conclusions of this investigation now revealed must be viewed with cautionbecause they are based on data from only 12 of the 135 countries listed in the Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) – a list of low and middle income countries.

“Most of the studies analyzed were based on data collected during the first months of the pandemic and, in general, the quality of the studies was poor. Additionally, research in this area lacks comparable pre-covid-19 data that allows meaningful assessment of the true impact of the pandemic on suicide rates,” he pointed out.

Taisa Pagno //

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