Suicide and suicide prevention awareness in Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic
Lee, J., Ho, Y-H., Shin, C., Han, R., Chae, N., & Yoon, H-K.
Objective: Owing to prolonged social distancing and the resultant isolation, the prevalence of depression and suicidality has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to investigate the severity of depression and suicidality in Korean community populations and examine their awareness of suicide and suicide prevention during the pandemic. Methods: This study surveyed a community population in 2020 and 2021, involving 668 participants. We evaluated the severity of depression and suicidality using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation as well as questions about awareness of suicide. We performed a correlation analysis to confirm the association between variables, and compared participants' suicide awareness according to the severity of depression. Results: The severity of depression and suicidality in the community population decreased in 2021 compared to 2020. Awareness of the importance of suicide prevention increased in 2021, but the percentage reporting that it is possible decreased slightly. The group with higher depressive symptoms reported a lower possibility of suicide prevention. Conclusion: Increasing social interest in suicide, as well as awareness of suicide prevention, is important for reducing suicide rates. Suicide prevention campaigns, education, and social policies are needed, particularly during the pandemic.