Front Psychiatry. 2022 Jul 19;13:927696. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.927696. eCollection 2022.
BACKGROUND: While repeated shutdown and lockdown measures helped contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 during the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and self-isolation negatively impacted global mental health in 2020 and 2021. Although suicide rates did reportedly not increase during the first months of the pandemic, long-term data, and data on the quality of serious violent suicide attempts (SVSAs) are not available to date.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Orthopaedic trauma patient visits to the emergency department (ED), ED trauma team activations, and SVSAs were retrospectively evaluated from January 2019 until May 2021 in four Level-I Trauma Centers in Berlin, Germany. SVSAs were assessed for suicide method, injury pattern and severity, type of treatment, and length of hospital stay.
RESULTS: Significantly fewer orthopaedic trauma patients presented to EDs during the pandemic (n = 70,271) compared to the control (n = 84,864) period (p = 0.0017). ED trauma team activation numbers remained unchanged. SVSAs (corrected for seasonality) also remained unchanged during control (n = 138) and pandemic (n = 129) periods, and no differences were observed for suicide methods, injury patterns, or length of hospital stay.
CONCLUSION: Our data emphasize that a previously reported rise in psychological stress during the COVID-19 pandemic does not coincide with increased SVSA rates or changes in quality of SVSAs.