You will find below a curated selection of research and publications related to suicide, suicide prevention and COVID-19. View the IASP Newsletter for further research and publication news beyond COVID-19.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on self-harm and suicidal behaviour: a living systematic review. Given the likely rapidly expanding research evidence base on the pandemic’s impact on rates of suicide, suicidal behaviours and self-harm and emerging evidence about how best to mitigate such effects, it is important that the best available knowledge is made readily available to policymakers, public health specialists and clinicians as soon as is possible. To facilitate this, we are conducting a living systematic review focusing on suicide prevention in relation to COVID-19. Daily automated searches will feed into a web-based screening system. Following initial screening, articles will be reviewed daily by suicide prevention experts in our team. Key publications and evidence summaries will be shared with policy makers in the UK, Ireland and Internationally. The review is jointly lead by researchers from the University of Bristol and Swansea University. It is a collaborative effort involving colleagues from the Universities of Cork, Oxford, Manchester, Glasgow, and Ulster.

Suicide Risk and Prevention during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Lancet Psychiatry April 21, 2020 – Commentary on the longer term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide rates as the pandemic impacts the general population, the economy, and vulnerable groups. “Preventing suicide therefore needs urgent consideration. The response must capitalise on, but extend beyond, general mental health policies and practices.”
Physical Distancing and Emotional Closeness Amidst COVID-19
The Journal of Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention, April 17, 2020 – Paul S.F. Yip and Pui Hing Chau. The 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has spread rapidly in many countries and the fallout from the pandemic is still unfolding. This important editorial outlines some key considerations regarding social isolation.

United for Global Mental Health – June 2020 This briefing provides an overview of some of the key issues regarding mental health and COVID-19. It is based on the work of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UN agencies, and the feedback and inputs of partner organisations through the weekly COVID-19 and mental health webinar series run by United for Global Mental Health and partners, and initiatives including the Open Letter from civil society calling for inclusion of mental health in all national government COVID-19 response and recovery plans.
Multidiscipllinary research priorities for the COVID-19 pandemic: a call for action for mental health science
Lancet Psychiatry, June 2020 – Prof. E. Holmes, Prof. R. O’Connor, Prof. H. Perry, Prof. I. Tracey, Prof. S. Wessley, Prof. L. Arseneault et al. This paper explores the psychological, social, and neuroscientific effects of COVID-19 and sets out the immediate priorities and longer-term strategies for mental health science research. 

The fight against COVID-19: a report from the Italian Trenches
International Psychogeriatrics, April 20, 2020 – Diego De Leo & Marco Trabucchi. This commentary provides an important snapshot of the COVID-19 situation in northern Italy, particularly focusing on the reasons surrounding Italy’s disproportionately high number of deaths.
COVID-MINDS is a network of longitudinal studies on the global mental health impact of Covid-19. By linking together studies from countries around the world, COVID-MINDS aims to support the sharing of protocols and data, the harmonisation of mental health measures, and the dissemination of findings to policy-makers and health bodies. Empirical research on mental health will be collated as it is published.

Key ethical questions for research during the COVID-19 pandemic
The Lancet Psychiatry, May 2020 – In these times of rapid change, with high levels of uncertainty, anxiety, social isolation, and financial pressure, mental health worldwide is likely to be at risk. Researchers are rightly ensuring that mental health research is included in the response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Here, we reflect on ethical issues to consider when conducting research on self-harm, suicide, and the broader impacts of COVID-19 in the midst of a global pandemic, and provide some recommendations to consider when researching these topics.

COVID-19: The implications for suicide in older adults
International Psychogeriatrics, April 2020 – A. P. France Wand, B-L. Zhong, H. F. Kum Chui, B. Draper & D. De Leo. This important paper examines the links between suicide in older people and the COVID-19 pandemic, providing perspective from psychiatrists from four regions; China, Hong Kong, Italy & Australia.

Nursing homes or besieged castles: COVID-19 in northern Italy
The Lancet Psychiatry, May 2020 – The tragic events in Italy, with more than 10 000 deaths due to novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), are causing pain and demoralisation to a still incredulous and shocked general population. It is particularly distressing that outbreaks of infection have developed rapidly in many nursing homes, where staff have been completely neglected by health authorities and can offer only little protection to many frail and needy older people.
Strategies to Promote Social Connections Among Older Adults During ‘Social Distancing’ Restrictions
The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, May 2020 – K. Van Orden, E. Bower, J. Lutz, C. Podgorski, E. J. Santos & Y. Conwell et al. The study addresses how clinicians can help older patients maintain social health during social distancing restrictions for COVID-19. The authors present evidence-informed cognitive-behavioral strategies to promote social connectedness for older adults remaining in their homes due to social distancing restrictions.
Focusing on health-care providers’ experiences in the COVID-19 crisis
Lancet Global Health, June 2020 – Yang Xiong, Lingli Peng. This study provides a holistic picture of health-care providers’ experiences for the international community and emphasises that sufficient personal protective equipment, reasonable work schedules, an effective communication environment, monitoring and supervision of infection control, and professional psychological support are necessary to improving the experiences of health-care providers.
Addressing mental health needs: an integral part in COVID-19 response
World Psychiatry, June 2020 – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. This important editorial from the Director General of the World Health Organisation highlights the extent to which COVID-19 affects mental health as well as physical health. It also acknowledges that mental health systems in all countries need to be strengthened to deal with the impact of COVID-19.