Year: 2023 Source: Journal of Affective Disorders. (2023). 325, 453-458. SIEC No: 20230304
Background COVID-19 may unfavourably affect the mental health of individuals in various ways. Accordingly, the concern has been raised that national suicide rates will increase in the wake of the outbreak of the pandemic. Methods In the current study, we tested this conjecture in three age groups (<25; 25–64; ≥65) of the Hungarian total population and the male and female populations. In addition, we assessed whether the pandemic had different effects on counts of suicides committed by violent or non-violent methods. Finally, by comparing the monthly suicide rates in 2020 and the corresponding monthly rates in 2019, we also investigated the “pulling together” hypothesis that postulates that a temporary decrease in suicides may occur after large-scale catastrophic events. Results With regard to the total population only the suicide counts of individuals aged 25–64 rose significantly (p < 0.05) during the COVID months of 2020. Similar patterns, but at lower levels of significance (0.05 < p < 0.1), were found in those members of the total population aged 65 or older and among males aged between 25 and 64. Furthermore, we found that the number of violent suicides increased significantly (p < 0.05) during the COVID months. Finally, our results have not confirmed the existence of a “pulling together” phenomenon in association with the COVID-19 pandemic in Hungary. Limitations We used non-individual level data and were therefore unable to control suicide risk factors at the level of individuals. Discussion The number of suicides rose significantly in some subgroups of the Hungarian population during the COVID months of 2020.