Risk of Suicide-Related Outcomes After SARS-COV-2 Infection: Results from a Nationwide Observational Matched Cohort of US Veterans

2023  Journal Article

Risk of Suicide-Related Outcomes After SARS-COV-2 Infection: Results from a Nationwide Observational Matched Cohort of US Veterans

Pub TLDR

This research study examined the risk of suicide attempts and other self-directed violence (SDV) in US veterans after being infected with SARS-COV-2. Results showed that COVID-19 patients had a higher risk of both suicide attempts and other forms of SDV compared to uninfected veterans, which persisted for at least one year after infection. The study suggests the need for suicide risk screening in those infected with SARS-COV-2 to prevent self-harm.

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-023-08440-9    PubMed ID: 37884839
 

College of Health researcher(s)

OSU Profile

Abstract

Background

Negative mental health-related effects of SARS-COV-2 infection are increasingly evident. However, the impact on suicide-related outcomes is poorly understood, especially among populations at elevated risk.

Objective

To determine risk of suicide attempts and other self-directed violence (SDV) after SARS-COV-2 infection in a high-risk population.

Design

We employed an observational design supported by comprehensive electronic health records from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to examine the association of SARS-COV-2 infection with suicide attempts and other SDV within one year of infection. Veterans with SARS-COV-2 infections were matched 1:5 with non-infected comparators each month. Three periods after index were evaluated: days 1–30, days 31–365, and days 1–365.

Participants

VHA patients infected with SARS-COV-2 between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 and matched non-infected Veteran comparators.

Main Measures

Suicide attempt and other SDV events for the COVID-19 and non-infected comparator groups were analyzed using incidence rates per 100,000 person years and hazard ratios from Cox regressions modeling time from matched index date to first event. Subgroups were also examined.

Key Results

198,938 veterans with SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19 group) and 992,036 comparators were included. Unadjusted one-year incidence per 100,000 for suicide attempt and other SDV was higher among the COVID-19 group: 355 vs 250 and 327 vs 235, respectively. The COVID-19 group had higher risk than comparators for suicide attempts: days 1–30 hazard ratio (HR) = 2.54 (CI:2.05, 3.15), days 31–365 HR = 1.30 (CI:1.19, 1.43) and days 1–365 HR = 1.41 (CI:1.30, 1.54), and for other SDV: days 1–30 HR = 1.94 (CI:1.51, 2.49), days 31–365 HR = 1.32 (CI:1.20, 1.45) and days 1–365 HR = 1.38 (CI:1.26, 1.51).

Conclusions

COVID-19 patients had higher risks of both suicide attempts and other forms of SDV compared to uninfected comparators, which persisted for at least one year after infection. Results support suicide risk screening of those infected with SARS-COV-2 to identify opportunities to prevent self-harm.

Hynes, D.M., Niederhausen, M., Chen, J., Shahoumian, T., Rowneki, M., Hickok, A., Shepherd-Banigan, M.E., Hawkins, E., Naylor, J., Teo, A., Govier, D.J., Berry, K., McCready, H., Osborne, T.F., Wong, E.S., Hebert, P.L., Smith, V.A., Bowling, C.B., Boyko, E.J., Ioannou, G.N., Iwashyna, T.J., Maciejewski, M.L., O’Hare, A., Viglianti, E.M., Bohnert, A.S.(2023)Risk of Suicide-Related Outcomes After SARS-COV-2 Infection: Results from a Nationwide Observational Matched Cohort of US VeteransJournal of General Internal Medicine39