Despite Pandemic-Era Drop, Suicide Threat Remains

May 13, 2022
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

U.S. News and World Report

Although suicide rates fell in the first year of the pandemic, comprehensive prevention efforts are still needed. According to experts, the drop in suicide rates should be interpreted with caution. Studies suggest suicide may plateau or decline right after a disaster, and the longer-term mental health impact may take time to emerge. In addition, the decline in suicide appears to have mostly affected White people, while rates have risen among other racial/ethnic groups. And with overdose deaths increasing in the same period, it is possible that some deaths classified as unintentional were actually suicides. Jill Harkavy-Friedman, vice president of research for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, says the pandemic has disproportionately affected those who were already at risk. To help develop culturally relevant prevention efforts, her organization has been working with community-based organizations to reach under-represented groups. “It’s really about engagement, it’s about inclusion, it’s about listening and empowering people to develop efforts in their own communities,” she said.

Spark Extra! Learn more about culturally competent approaches to suicide prevention.