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In the media: Study on suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic

April 28, 2021


Dr. Mark Sinyor, Sunnybrook psychiatrist and suicide prevention expert in the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program, highlights the first international study of suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic with various media including Global National, the Vancouver Sun and MedPage Today.

Dr. Sinyor is a co-investigator in the study, which demonstrated suicide rates did not rise in the early stage of the pandemic in 21 countries or areas within countries where data was available.

In a recent MedPage Today article, Dr. Sinyor explained, "If the right actions are taken, for example, governments provide or continue to provide financial safety nets, communities make efforts to promote social cohesion and togetherness once physical distancing is no longer required, and health systems offer timely access to high-quality mental health care, there is no reason why suicide rates have to increase and, in fact, it is possible that there could be ongoing reductions.”

In Canada, some provinces saw significant decreases in suicides.

“There was a 24 per cent reduction in suicide in British Columbia and a 20 per cent reduction in Alberta,” Dr. Sinyor explained to Global National.

Dr. Sinyor and the international study co-authors caution that the pandemic is still ongoing and its effects on mental health around the world may continue for some time.

“The key point to take away is that an increase in suicides when times are challenging is not destiny,” he said in an interview with the Vancouver Sun.

Read the study news release
Watch the Global National story 
Read the Vancouver Sun article 
Learn more in MedPage Today coverage

If you need help in an emergency, please call 911 or visit your local emergency department.

If you’re feeling like you’re in crisis or need somebody to talk to, please know that help is also available through community resources:

Mental health resources for coping during COVID-19 from Sunnybrook experts