Year: 2023 Source: Healthcare. (2022). 10, 2377. healthcare10122377 SIEC No: 20230543
The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with suicide, as some data suggests. Our study aims to investigate the emergence of eleven completed suicide cases suspected to be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic during the restrictive measures imposed by the Romanian government, and to identify the consequences of mental health, suicidal motivation, and behavioral changes. To this end, we analyzed the deceased’s medical records and applied the psychological autopsy method to the relatives/caregivers of the deceased for a suicidal investigation history, within conducted free-flow discussions. To highlight behavioral changes that occurred in the distant antecedents as well as immediately before the suicidal act, we used two sets of closed questions comprised of fifteen alarm signs, including depressive and/or anxiety symptoms. Our results showed that a deterioration of the mental status, especially concerning depressive and anxiety symptoms, was evident in people without or with pre-existing psychiatric pathology. The suicidal motivation proved to be complex including, in addition to the SARS-CoV-2 infection, social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. We noted an intensification of the investigated alarm signs and even the emergence of new warning signs in the recent antecedents. Based on our findings, we reaffirmed the important role of the psychological autopsy method in suicide investigation, proving that it can detect the specific impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people prone to suicide. This impact can be psycho-emotional, social, and/or economical, and thus we can state that the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences can be, at least, a triggering factor that enhances completed suicide risk. Further studies are needed in this particular area because correlations between the COVID-19 pandemic and completed suicide do not appear to be accidental.