Study cites need for better suicide prevention amid COVID-19 pandemic

It is well known that the mental health of Canadians has generally deteriorated due to COVID-19.

A recent study delved deeper into this by looking at how the pandemic has affected people with different conditions.

The subjects were grouped into three profiles, and the researchers found one thing concerning.

It’s that people with mental health issues are more likely to consider suicide than those without.

The article was written by Michelle D. Guerrero and Joel D. Barnes of Statistics Canada.

The document is titled “Mental Health Profiles and Their Association with Negative Impacts and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Canadian Perspective”.

The survey covered 22,721 adults.

Subjects were categorized as having no mental health problems or Profile 1, mild to moderate (Profile 2), and severe (Profile 3).

Guerrero and Barnes observed that 4.27% of people in Profile 2 and 19.09% in Profile 3 were more likely to have considered suicide since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

For profile 1 or those without mental health problems, the odds were 0.16%.

In addition, among people in Profile 3 or those with severe mental health difficulties, one in five had thought about suicide since the start of the pandemic.

“Current research provides evidence that people with mental health issues have been significantly impacted by the pandemic, and people with severe mental health issues have been hardest hit,” Guerrero and Barnes wrote of their work.

The study was published on August 18, 2022, and the authors made a number of recommendations.

The authors said mental health professionals “need to be particularly vigilant in monitoring symptoms of suicidal ideation in people with serious mental health problems.”

“Providing treatment for suicidal ideation via telehealth may reduce mental health consequences related to COVID-19,” they continued.

Additionally, “public health treatment strategies aimed at reducing suicidal behavior should prioritize people with multiple disorders.”

“Findings from the current study also provide a strong case for adopting analytical approaches that can reveal the nuanced impact of the pandemic on the lives of people with serious mental health conditions,” Guerrero and Barnes wrote. .

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, helplines are available 24 hours a day.

These include the British Columbia Crisis Center and Talk Suicide Canada.