Increased risk for mental disorders and suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic. Position statement of the Section on Suicidology and Suicide Prevention of the European Psychiatric Association


In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. The Section on Suicidology and Suicide Prevention of the European Psychiatric Association wants to raise awareness about the potential increase in mental health disorders and suicides as a result of the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and of the necessary restrictive measures adopted worldwide to contain its spread. Even if fear, worries and symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress can be considered a natural response to this global crisis, there are some individuals who are overexposed to its potential negative effects, such as healthcare workers, COVID-19 and psychiatric patients, prisoners, members of the LGBTQ+ community, migrants (including migrant workers), ethnic minorities and asylum seekers and internally displaced populations. Nevertheless, social support, resilience, a supportive work environment and other protective factors may buffer the impact of this crisis on mental health. These unprecedented times are calling for unprecedented efforts. Evidence-based and coordinated actions to prevent the risk for increased mental health disorders and suicide are needed. However, most of the data on COVID-19 impact on mental health comes from online surveys using non-probability and convenience sample in which females are often over-represented. For this reason, the quality of future research should be also improved.

Published in Global Psychiatry

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