Suicide among adolescents and youths during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns: A press media reports-based exploratory study

J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Nurs. 2021 May;34(2):139-146. doi: 10.1111/jcap.12313. Epub 2021 Apr 3.

Abstract

Problem: Suicide incidences among adolescents and youths during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdowns have been reported across the world. However, no studies have been carried out to investigate cumulative nature, patterns, and causative factors of such suicide incidences.

Methods: A purposive sampling of Google news between 15 February and 6 July was performed. After excluding duplicate reports, the final list comprised a total of 37-suicide cases across 11 countries.

Findings: More male suicides were reported (21-cases, i.e., 56.76%), and the mean age of the total victims was 16.6 ± 2.7 years (out of a total of 29 cases). About two-thirds of the suicides were from three countries named India (11-cases), UK (8-cases), and the USA (6-cases). Out of 23-student victims, 14 were school-going students. Hanging was the most common suicide method accounting in 51.4% of cases. The most common suicide causalities were related to mental sufferings such as depression, loneliness, psychological distress, and so forth, whereas either online schooling or overwhelming academic distress was placed as the second most suicide stressors followed by TikTok addiction-related psychological distress, and tested with the COVID-19.

Conclusions: The finding of the temporal distribution of suicides concerning lockdowns may help in exploring and evolving public measures to prevent/decrease pandemic-related suicides in young people.

Keywords: COVID-19 self-harm; COVID-19 suicide; adolescent suicide; press reporting suicide; teenage suicide; youth suicide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / psychology
  • Child
  • Communicable Disease Control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media* / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychological Distress
  • Social Isolation / psychology
  • Suicide, Completed / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult