This study projected the number of excess suicides in Canada as a consequence of the impact of COVID-19 on unemployment.
The authors derived annual suicide mortality (2000-2018) and unemployment (2000-2019) data from Statistics Canada and used time-trend regression models to evaluate and predict the number of excess suicides in 2020 and 2021 for two possible projection scenarios following the COVID-19 pandemic: 1) an increase in unemployment of 1.6% in 2020, 1.2% in 2021, or 2) an increase in unemployment of 10.7% in 2020, 8.9% in 2021.
They found that in the first scenario, the rise in unemployment rates would result in a projected total of 418 excess suicides in 2020-2021 (suicide rate per 100,000: 11.6 in 2020). In the second scenario, the projected suicide rates per 100,000 increased to 14.0 in 2020 and 13.6 in 2021, resulting in 2114 excess suicides in 2020-2021.
Their findings indicate that suicide prevention in the context of COVID-19-related unemployment may be critical. They propose timely access to mental healthcare, financial provisions and social/labor support programs, as well as optimal treatment for mental disorders.