INTERNATIONAL: Suicide Risk and Prevention during the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 15, 2020

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The Lancet Psychiatry

Experts recommend immediate action to prevent suicide during COVID-19. In a recent Lancet Psychiatry article, an international group of authors calls for a comprehensive response to the pandemic that applies suicide prevention best practices. That approach should include interventions targeting individuals and groups at risk for suicide, including expanded access to telehealth services and crisis hotlines. Health care organizations and providers should have in place clear pathways for suicide risk assessment and care. Those experiencing increased stress during COVID-19, such as frontline health care workers, should receive adequate protective equipment and mental health support. A comprehensive approach would also include interventions targeting the whole population, such as financial safety nets and community supports for those living alone. The authors also called for public health messaging about safe alcohol intake and reducing access to lethal means, as well as responsible media reporting on suicide.

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