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Suicide Deaths During the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Advisory in Massachusetts, March to May 2020

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

Many policy makers believe that shelter-in-place or stay-at-home policies could cause an increase in what are known as deaths of despair. While increases in psychiatric stressors during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have been reported, it is presently unknown whether suicide rates similarly changed during stay-at-home periods.1,2

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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Article Information

Accepted for Publication: November 21, 2020.

Published: January 21, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.34273

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2021 Faust JS et al. JAMA Network Open.

Corresponding Author: Jeremy Samuel Faust, MD, MS, Division of Health Policy and Public Health, Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 10 Vining St, Boston, MA 02115 (jsfaust@gmail.com).

Author Contributions: Dr Faust had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Faust, Shah, Lin, Krumholz.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Faust, Du, Li, Lin.

Drafting of the manuscript: Faust, Shah, Li.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Faust, Du, Lin, Krumholz.

Statistical analysis: Faust, Du, Li, Lin.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Shah.

Supervision: Faust, Li, Lin.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Lin reported having a contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services to develop quality measures. Dr Krumholz reported receiving personal fees from UnitedHealth, IBM Watson Health, Element Science, Aetna, Facebook, Siegfried and Jensen Law Firm, Arnold and Porter Law Firm, Martin/Baughman Law Firm, F-Prime, and the National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases, Beijing; being cofounder of HugoHealth, a personal health information platform, and of Refactor Health, an enterprise healthcare artificial intelligence–augmented data management company; having contracts with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, through Yale New Haven Hospital, to develop and maintain measures of hospital performance; and receiving grants from Medtronic, the US Food and Drug Administration, Johnson and Johnson, and Shenzhen Center for Health Information outside the submitted work. No other disclosures were reported.

Additional Contributions: The authors wish to thank the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, Office of Population Health, Massachusetts Department of Public Health for assistance with data acquisition.

References
1.
Reger  MA , Stanley  IH , Joiner  TE .  Suicide mortality and coronavirus disease 2019—a perfect storm?   JAMA Psychiatry. 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1060PubMedGoogle Scholar
2.
Moutier  C .  Suicide prevention in the COVID-19 era: transforming threat into opportunity.   JAMA Psychiatry. 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.3746PubMedGoogle Scholar
3.
Morganstein  JC , Ursano  RJ .  Ecological disasters and mental health: causes, consequences, and interventions.   Front Psychiatry. 2020;11:1. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00001PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
4.
Phillips  JA , Nugent  CN .  Suicide and the Great Recession of 2007-2009: the role of economic factors in the 50 U.S. states.   Soc Sci Med. 2014;116:22-31. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.06.015PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
5.
Gunnell  D , Appleby  L , Arensman  E ,  et al; COVID-19 Suicide Prevention Research Collaboration.  Suicide risk and prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic.   Lancet Psychiatry. 2020;7(6):468-471. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30171-1PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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