Year: 2022 Source: Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. (2022). 1– 6. DOI: 10.1177/00048674221131500 SIEC No: 20220863
Two years ago, in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were widespread and grim predictions of an ensuing suicide epidemic. Not only has this not happened but also by the end of 2021 in the  majority of countries and regions with available data, the suicide rates had, if anything, declined. We discuss four reasons why the predictions of suicide models were exaggerated: (1) government intervention  reduced the economic and mental costs of lockdowns, (2) the pandemic itself and lockdowns had less of an effect on mental health than assumed, (3) the evidence for a link between economic downturns, distress and suicide is  weaker and less consistent than the models assumed and (4) predicting suicide is generally hard. Predictive models have an important place, but their strong modelling assumptions need to acknowledge the  inherent high degree of uncertainty which has been further augmented by behavioural responses of pandemic management.