Year: 2023 Source: The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. (2023). 68(1), 64‐66. doi: 10.1177/07067437221125316 SIEC No: 20230819
The COVID-19 pandemic initially raised concerns about increased suicides, particularly due to stressors such as unemployment, financial strain, and social disconnectedness, however data from the earliest months of the pandemic generally showed no increases, including in three Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba) (see Supplemental file).1,2 Experts have recommended cautious media reporting about the pandemic's potential effects on suicides, 3 as suicide-related media discussions can influence population-level behavior. 4 Specifically, reporters have been advised against presenting unbalanced, pessimistic statements about the pandemic's impact on suicides, as such messages may increase suicide risk. 3 In contrast, stories of hope and recovery that present suicide as preventable may be protective.3,4 The current study aimed to investigate whether reports of the pandemic's effect on suicides were presented in a cautious and responsible manner by major Canadian media organizations both nationally and in the three provinces for which suicide data was available during study planning.