The impact of infectious disease-related public health emergencies on suicidal behaviour and suicidal thoughts: A systematic review
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Description: Previous studies on the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) (Cheung, Chau, & Yip, 2008; Yip, Cheung, Chau, & Law, 2010) reported an increase of suicides among older adults, particularly women (Chan, Chiu, Lam, Leung, & Conwell, 2006), associated with social disengagement, mental stress, anxiety, and fears of being a burden to the family during the negative impact of the epidemic. While it is expected that COVID-19 will have a negative impact on the general population’s mental health, the effects of this pandemic on suicidal behaviour, suicidal thoughts/ideation and self-harm are as yet unknown. Therefore, the main focus of this review will be upon the extent to which exposure to infectious disease-related public health emergencies results in a different level of risk of suicide-related outcomes. The secondary aim of this review will be on the lessons to be learned from past infectious disease-related public health emergencies about (a) the likely future course and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicidal behaviour, suicidal thoughts/ideation and self-harm and (b) the likely effectiveness of different interventions to mitigate this impact.
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