Deaths by suicide declined in 2020
updated: Apr. 21, 2021
The American foundation for suicide prevention has stated that there was a decline in deaths by suicide by almost 6% from the year 2019 to 2020. This gives a glimmer of hope for the future in what has been rather a glum year where overall deaths increased by 17.7% in 2020, from the previous year, most of those directly attributable to COVID-19.
It is reassuring that protective mental health measures are having a positive impact in the time of collective national tragedy in the form of COVID-19. Research shows that prioritizing and having open honest dialogue about mental health on the national and individual levels, implementing practices that reduce suicide risk in all settings, and seeking help early can reduce suicide deaths. Even though this data is encouraging, much remains to be seen with the long-term impact of COVID-19 on suicides. Many complex risk factors can lead to suicidal ideation including isolation, depression, anxiety, economic stress. Community cohesion that often results or follows a national catastrophe like COVID-19 can, have been beneficiall effects. However it is likely that we can expect a long tail of mental health effects from COVID-19.