Patterns of Hospital Presenting Suicide-Related Ideation in Older Adults before and during COVID-19: Findings from a National Clinical Service in Ireland 2018-2021.

Publication date: Jan 25, 2024

To examine changes in trends of hospital-presenting suicide-related ideation in older adults living in Ireland, during the first 24 months of the COVID-19 pandemic and 2018-2019. Data on presentations of patients aged 60 and older from participating hospitals of the National Clinical Programme for Self-Harm and Suicide-related Ideation were used to compare trends during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2021) with the preceding period (2018-2019). Poisson regression models were used to estimate trends in the pre-pandemic and pandemic periods. There were 1531 presentations for suicide-related ideation to hospital emergency departments in older adults between January 1, 2018-December 31, 2021, with most presentations involving males (57. 2%, n = 876). There was a 27% increase in suicide-related ideation presentations during the pandemic years (2020-2021) when compared to 2018-2019 (RR: 1. 27, p = . 001, 95%CI: 1. 14-1. 40), with females showing a 29% increase (RR: 1. 29, p = . 001, 95%CI: 1. 11-1. 51) and males a 23% increase (RR: 1. 23, p = . 002, 95%CI: 1. 08-1. 40). When examining these trends by years, there were only significant increases in 2021, and no significant increases were observed in 2020. The study findings show that in the second year following the start of the pandemic, significant increases were observed in suicide-related ideation hospital-presentations in older adults. While immediate changes in trends were not observed in the first year of the pandemic, it is important to consider the pandemic’s medium and long-term impact on older adults’ mental health, to provide adequate support and reduce suicide risk among those presenting with suicide-related ideation.

Concepts Keywords
Hospitals Covid-19
Ireland mental health
Models pandemic
Pandemic suicidal ideation


Type Source Name
disease MESH Suicide
disease MESH COVID-19
disease MESH emergency
disease MESH suicidal ideation

Original Article

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