No Increase in Suicide Rate in England After First Lockdown

Dawn O'Shea

April 28, 2021

Researchers from the University of Manchester say there has been no increase in suicide rates in England in the months after the first national lockdown began in 2020.

In a study on the  Lancet Regional Health - Europe,  the researchers used real-time surveillance-recorded suspected suicide figures from the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) in England to identify for any change in suicide rates following the introduction of lockdowns.

The data showed that the number of suicides in April-October 2020, after the first lockdown began, was 121.3 per month compared with 125.7 per month in January-March 2020 (−4%; 95% CI, −19% to 13%; P=.59).

Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) did not show a significant rise in individual months after the lockdown began and were not raised during the two-month lockdown period in April-May 2020 (IRR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.81-1.25) or the five-month period after the easing of the lockdown in June-October 2020 (IRR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.81-1.09).

Comparison of the suicide rates after the lockdown began in 2020 for the same months in selected areas in 2019 showed no difference.

The study shows that there was no rise in suicide rates in England in the months after the first national lockdown began in 2020, despite evidence of greater distress.

However, a number of caveats apply. These are early figures and may change. Any effect of the pandemic may vary by population group or geographical area.

Appleby L, Richards N, Ibrahim S, Turnbull P, Rodway C, Kapur N. Suicide in England in the COVID-19 pandemic: Early observational data from real time surveillance. Lancet Reg Health Eur. 2021 Apr 20 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/j.lanepe.2021.100110.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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