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Suicide Mortality and Coronavirus Disease 2019—A Perfect Storm?

Educational Objective
To understand how secondary consequences of social distancing may increase the risk of suicide
1 Credit CME

Suicide rates have been rising in the US over the last 2 decades. The latest data available (2018) show the highest age-adjusted suicide rate in the US since 1941.1 It is within this context that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) struck the US. Concerning disease models have led to historic and unprecedented public health actions to curb the spread of the virus. Remarkable social distancing interventions have been implemented to fundamentally reduce human contact. While these steps are expected to reduce the rate of new infections, the potential for adverse outcomes on suicide risk is high. Actions could be taken to mitigate potential unintended consequences on suicide prevention efforts, which also represent a national public health priority.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Mark A. Reger, PhD, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, 1660 S Columbian Way (S-116), Seattle, WA 98108 (mark.reger@va.gov).

Published Online: April 10, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1060

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs or University of Washington.

References
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