Post-COVID syndrome and suicide risk

QJM. 2021 Apr 27;114(2):95-98. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcab007.


A significant number of coronavirus disease SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) patients continue to have symptoms related to COVID-19 after the acute phase of illness. This post-COVID condition is sometimes called 'post-COVID syndrome', 'long COVID' or 'post-acute COVID-19'. Persistent psychiatric symptoms among COVID-19 survivors such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic symptoms and cognitive impairment may be related to psychological factors and neurobiological injury. COVID-19 related neurological symptoms including anosmia, ageusia, dizziness, headache and seizures may persist for a long time after the acute COVID-19 illness. Many COVID-19 survivors experience persistent physical symptoms such as cough, fatigue, dyspnea and pain after recovering from their initial illness. There is a high probability that symptoms of psychiatric, neurological and physical illnesses, as well as inflammatory damage to the brain in individuals with post-COVID syndrome increase suicidal ideation and behavior in this patient population. COVID-19 survivors without post-COVID syndrome may also be at elevated suicide risk. Studies of suicidality in COVID-19 survivors are urgently needed and will be a new area of suicide research. An appropriate management of psychiatric, neurological and medical conditions may reduce suicide risk among COVID-19 survivors with or without post-COVID syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / complications*
  • COVID-19 / physiopathology*
  • COVID-19 / psychology
  • Delirium / etiology
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Survivors / psychology*