Impacts of COVID-19 on Suicidality

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated mental health challenges due to the intense feelings of isolation, anxiety, fear, and socioeconomic stress. 

Data collected in the U.S. found that 41% of adults reported feeling anxious or depressed, 13% reported increased use in substances, and 11% reported suicidal ideations. Declines in mental health disproportionately impacted communities of color, essential workers, adults who lost their jobs, and women with children.

Certain groups can be especially suceptible to increased suicide rates during the pandemic, namely those that are more vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. 

– Elderly populations experience heightened levels of social isolation due to their vulnerability to the virus, and may experience increased anxiety and depression 

– Young people  experienced an increase in suicide rates at the beginning of the pandemic, mostly atributed to the distress experienced due to disruptions in education, socialization, and stability.

– People who are un- and under-employed have a heightened risk of suicide, and with the compounding stressors of the pandemic are especially vulnerable to mental distress and suicidal ideation. Job loss can lead to increased depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Adults with job loss or lower incomes during the pandemic reported higher rates of mental illness than those without job or income loss (53% vs. 31%).

– People with mental health conditions experienced an exacerbation of preexisting mental health conditions during the pandemic due to increased isolation, a disruption in psychiatric services, and heightened levels of anxiety. 

– People who use substances, and particularly people with alcohol use disorder and people who inject drugs, are are at elevated risk of suicide (10 and 14 times higher risk than the general population, respectively). 

This tip sheet gives suggestions for COVID-19-induced stress by providing self-care ideas such as mindfulness and breathing exercises, as well as healthy ways to connect with others.

This webinar discusses how to manage fears and stress during the pandemic, and how to develop new coping strategies during this period of uncertainty. 

This webinar from Mental Health America focuses on resiliency, and how to build one’s own resiliency during this difficult time in order to cultivate mental wellbeing.    

The Mind on Mental Health Podcast discusses mental health challenges and how to cope with them, with expert input and a focus on COVID-19’s impact on mental health and wellbeing.