Emergency dispatches for suicide attempts during the covid-19 outbreak in okayama, japan: A descriptive epidemiological study

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Abstract

Background: Hardships associated with the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic can affect mental health, potentially leading to increased risk of suicide. We examined the relationship between the COVID-19 outbreak and suicide attempts in Okayama, Japan using information from emergency dispatches. Methods: This was a descriptive epidemiological study. We collected information on emergency dispatches in Okayama City and Kibichuo from March to August in 2018, 2019, and 2020 (n = 47,770 cases). We compared emergency dispatches and their demographic characteristics, especially focusing on suicide attempts, during these 3 years. Results: The number of emergency dispatches in 2020 decreased compared with the previous 2 years, while the number and proportion of emergency dispatches related to suicide attempts increased. This increase was more pronounced among women and those aged 25–49 years. Among women aged 25–49 years, there was a cumulative total of 43 suicide attempts in 2018 and 2019 and 73 suicide attempts in 2020. Conclusions: The number and proportion of emergency dispatches related to suicide attempts increased in 2020 compared with the previous 2 years, especially among women and those aged 25–49 years. This increase may be partly explained by hardships, such as economic losses or reduced social ties, during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-517
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of epidemiology
Volume31
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Emergency medical dispatch
  • Epidemiology
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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