The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 is a major global health challenge. At the time of writing, over 11.6 million people around the world had been registered as infected and 538,000 had died (Worldometers, 2020, accessed July 7, 2020). Public health responses to COVID-19 need to balance direct efforts to control the disease and its impact on health systems, infected people, and their families with the impacts from associated mitigating interventions. Such impacts include social isolation, school closure, health service disruption stemming from reconfiguring health systems, and diminished economic activity. The primary focus of both the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) has been on addressing COVID-19 as a physical health crisis, but the need to strengthen mental health action, including suicide prevention, is increasingly recognized, as is the need for mental health research to be an integral part of the recovery plan (UN, 2020a). The impacts of the pandemic on physical and mental health will unfold differently over time and will vary depending on the duration and fluctuating intensity of the disease. Research is needed to help ensure that decision-making regarding all aspects of health, including mental health (Holmes et al., 2020), is informed by the best quality data at each stage of the pandemic.


Distributed as a Hogrefe OpenMind article under the license CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

Cite as

Niederkrotenthaler, T., Gunnell, D., Arensman, E., Pirkis, J., Appleby, L., Hawton, K., John, A., Kapur, N., Khan, M., O'Connor, R. & Platt, S. 2020, 'Suicide research, prevention, and COVID-19: towards a global response and the establishment of an international research collaboration', Criris, 41(5), pp. 321-330. http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/0227-5910/a000731

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Last updated: 20 August 2022
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