Suicide behavior in pandemia by COVID-19: General overview




Suicide; Pandemic; Mental Health; Covid-19.


The purpose of this study was to conduct a literature review with the objective of assessing suicidal behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, a search was conducted in the PubMed and Scielo databases for scientific articles published between January 2020 and April 2021. The descriptors used were Suicide and Coronavirus. After applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 37 articles were selected. Most of the reviewed studies showed that the pandemic exacerbated some risk factors for suicidal behavior, such as the presence of associated psychiatric disorder, social isolation, unemployment, alcohol use, domestic violence, social stigma, negative news, neurological diseases, sleep disorders, restricted access to health services, and others. Thus, a proportional increase in rates of suicidal behavior is expected during and after the current COVID-19 scenario. Further research is still needed in the area that contributes to the early recognition of risk factors that directly interfere with suicidal behavior. It is important that further studies focus on developing more defined coping strategies to minimize the social, economic, and public health impact of increased suicidal behavior.


Ammerman, B. A., Burke, T. A., Jacobucci, R., Mcclure, K. (2020). Preliminary investigation of the association between COVID-19 and suicidal thoughts and behaviors in the U.S. Journal Of Psychiatric Research, [2020], v. 134, p. 32-38, fev. 2021. Elsevier BV.

Aquila, I., Sacco, M. A., Ricci, C., Gratteri, S., Montebianco Abenavoli, L., Oliva, A., & Ricci, P. (2020). The role of the COVID-19 pandemic as a risk factor for suicide: What is its impact on the public mental health state today? Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy, 12(S1), S120–S122.

Banerjee, D., Kosagisharaf, J. R., & Sathyanarayana Rao, T. S. (2021). “The dual pandemic” of suicide and COVID-19: A biopsychosocial narrative of risks and prevention. Psychiatry Research, 295, 113577.

Bardin, L. (2011). Análise de conteúdo. Edições 70.

Bastiampillai, T., Allison, S., Looi, J. C. L., Licinio, J., Wong, M.-L., & Perry, S. W. (2020). The COVID-19 pandemic and epidemiologic insights from recession-related suicide mortality. Molecular Psychiatry, 25 (12), 3445–3447.

Brietzke, E., Magee, T., Freire, R. C. R., Gomes, F. A., & Milev, R. (2020). Three insights on psychoneuroimmunology of mood disorders to be taken from the COVID-19 pandemic. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health, 5, 100076.

Caballero-Domínguez, C. C., Jiménez-Villamizar, M. P., & Campo-Arias, A. (2020). Suicide risk during the lockdown due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Colombia. Death Studies, 1–6.

Campbell, A. M. (2020). An increasing risk of family violence during the Covid-19 pandemic: Strengthening community collaborations to save lives. Forensic Science International: Reports, 2, 100089.

Conejero, I., Nobile, B., Olié, E., & Courtet, Ph. (2021). How Does COVID-19 Affect the Neurobiology of Suicide? Current Psychiatry Reports, 23(4).

Cuellar, A., Mark, T. L., Sharfstein, S. S., & Huskamp, H. A. (2020). How to Mitigate the Mental Health Care Consequences of the COVID-19 Financial Crisis. Psychiatric Services (Washington, D.C.), 71(12), 1317–1319.

Czeisler, M. É., Lane, R. I., Petrosky, E., Wiley, J. F., Christensen, A., Njai, R., Weaver, M. D., Robbins, R., Facer-Childs, E. R., Barger, L. K., Czeisler, C. A., Howard, M. E., & Rajaratnam, S. M. W. (2020). Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic—United States, June 24–30, 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 69(32), 1049–1057.

Deady, M., Tan, L., Kugenthiran, N., Collins, D., Christensen, H., & Harvey, S. B. (2020). Unemployment, suicide and COVID-19: Using the evidence to plan for prevention. The Medical Journal of Australia, 213(4), 153-154.e1.

Fitzpatrick, K. M., Harris, C., & Drawve, G. (2020). How bad is it? Suicidality in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, 50(6), 1241–1249.

Fountoulakis, K. N., Apostolidou, M. K., Atsiova, M. B., Filippidou, A. K., Florou, A. K., Gousiou, D. S., Katsara, A. R., Mantzari, S. N., Padouva-Markoulaki, M., Papatriantafyllou, E. I., Sacharidi, P. I., Tonia, A. I., Tsagalidou, E. G., Zymara, V. P., Prezerakos, P. E., Koupidis, S. A., Fountoulakis, N. K., & Chrousos, G. P. (2021). Self-reported changes in anxiety, depression and suicidality during the COVID-19 lockdown in Greece. Journal of Affective Disorders, 279, 624–629.

Garcia, L. P., Sanchez, Z. M., Garcia, L. P., & Sanchez, Z. M. (2020). Consumo de álcool durante a pandemia da COVID-19: Uma reflexão necessária para o enfrentamento da situação. Cadernos de Saúde Pública, 36(10).

Gomes, I. S., & Caminha, I. D. O. (2013). Guia para estudos de revisão sistemática: Uma opção metodológica para as ciências do movimento humano. Movimento (ESEFID/UFRGS), 20(1), 395.

Gunnell, D., Appleby, L., Arensman, E., Hawton, K., John, A., Kapur, N., Khan, M., O’Connor, R. C., & Pirkis, J. (2020). Suicide risk and prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet. Psychiatry, 7(6), 468–471.

Han, R. H., Schmidt, M. N., Waits, W. M., Bell, A. K. C., & Miller, T. L. (2020). Planning for Mental Health Needs During COVID-19. Current Psychiatry Reports, 22(12).

Hernández-Calle, D., Martínez-Alés, G., Mediavilla, R., Aguirre, P., Rodríguez-Vega, B., & Bravo-Ortiz, M. F. (2020). Trends in Psychiatric Emergency Department Visits Due to Suicidal Ideation and Suicide Attempts During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Madrid, Spain. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 81(5).

Jefsen, O. H., Rohde, C., Nørremark, B., & Østergaard, S. D. (2020). COVID-19-related self-harm and suicidality among individuals with mental disorders. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 142(2), 152–153.

Kawohl, W., & Nordt, C. (2020). COVID-19, unemployment, and suicide. The Lancet. Psychiatry, 7(5), 389–390.

Leaune, E., Samuel, M., Oh, H., Poulet, E., & Brunelin, J. (2020). Suicidal behaviors and ideation during emerging viral disease outbreaks before the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic rapid review. Preventive Medicine, 141, 106264.

Lennon, J. C. (2020). What lies ahead: Elevated concerns for the ongoing suicide pandemic. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy, 12(S1), S118–S119.

Levi-Belz, Y., & Aisenberg, D. (2020). Together we stand: Suicide risk and suicide prevention among Israeli older adults during and after the COVID-19 world crisis. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy, 12(S1), S123–S125.

Mari, J. de J., & Oquendo, M. A. (2020). Mental health consequences of COVID-19: The next global pandemic. Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 42(3), 219–221.

McIntyre, R. S., & Lee, Y. (2020). Projected increases in suicide in Canada as a consequence of COVID-19. Psychiatry Research, 290, 113104.

Moutier, C. (2020). Suicide Prevention in the COVID-19 Era: Transforming Threat Into Opportunity. JAMA Psychiatry.

Que, J., Yuan, K., Gong, Y., Meng, S., Bao, Y., & Lu, L. (2020). Raising awareness of suicide prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Neuropsychopharmacology Reports, 40(4), 392–395.

Rana, U. (2020). Elderly suicides in India: An emerging concern during COVID-19 pandemic. International Psychogeriatrics, 1–2.

Sheffler, J. L., Joiner, T. E., & Sachs-Ericsson, N. J. (2021). The Interpersonal and Psychological Impacts of COVID-19 on Risk for Late-Life Suicide. The Gerontologist, 61(1), 23–29.

Sher, L. (2020a). Are COVID-19 survivors at increased risk for suicide? Acta Neuropsychiatrica, 32(5), 270.

Sher, L. (2020b). Suicide research and prevention during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 142(5), 353–354.

Sher, L. (2020c). Psychiatric disorders and suicide in the COVID-19 era. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 113(8), 527–528.

Stockwell, T., Andreasson, S., Cherpitel, C., Chikritzhs, T., Dangardt, F., Holder, H., Naimi, T., & Sherk, A. (2021). The burden of alcohol on health care during COVID-19. Drug and Alcohol Review, 40(1), 3–7.

Thakur, V., & Jain, A. (2020). COVID 2019-suicides: A global psychological pandemic. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 88, 952–953.

Ventriglio, A., Watson, C., & Bhugra, D. (2020). Pandemics, panic and prevention: Stages in the life of COVID-19 pandemic. The International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 66(8), 733–734.

Wand, A. P. F., Zhong, B.-L., Chiu, H. F. K., Draper, B., & De Leo, D. (2020). COVID-19: The implications for suicide in older adults. International Psychogeriatrics, 32(10), 1225–1230.

Wasserman, D., van der Gaag, R., & Wise, J. (2020). The term “physical distancing” is recommended rather than “social distancing” during the COVID-19 pandemic for reducing feelings of rejection among people with mental health problems. European Psychiatry: The Journal of the Association of European Psychiatrists, 63(1), e52.

Zalsman, G., Stanley, B., Szanto, K., Clarke, D. E., Carli, V., & Mehlum, L. (2020). Suicide in the Time of COVID-19: Review and Recommendations. Archives of Suicide Research: Official Journal of the International Academy for Suicide Research, 24(4), 477–482.



How to Cite

NASCIMENTO, A. B.; MAIA, J. L. F. Suicide behavior in pandemia by COVID-19: General overview. Research, Society and Development, [S. l.], v. 10, n. 5, p. e59410515923, 2021. DOI: 10.33448/rsd-v10i5.15923. Disponível em: Acesso em: 9 jun. 2023.



Health Sciences