Impact of COVID-19 restrictions on self-poisoning behaviour with mild analgesics in Danish youth

Gurbhej Singh, Jonathan Pommer Hansen, Ditte Hulgaard, Mads Damkjær, Erik Christiansen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the implementation of precautions to contain the disease, including lockdowns and social isolation. Previous studies have investigated suicide rates among children and adolescents during the pandemic and have found varying results. We speculated how the two lockdowns influenced suicidal behaviour in children and adolescents in Denmark.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the effect of lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide attempts, as measured by the incidence rate in all self-poisonings with mild analgesics among children and adolescents.

METHODS: This national Danish registry-based study on children and adolescents used Poisson regression and interrupted time series analysis to examine the incidence rates and trends of self-poisonings with mild analgesics from 2019 to mid-2021.

RESULTS: For the period of this study, 1655 self-poisonings were registered. During the first lockdown, there was a slight, not statistically significant, decrease in self-poisoning rates (incidence rate ratio [IRR]) 0.98) compared to no lockdown. During the second lockdown, there was a significant increase in self-poisonings for the whole Danish population (IRR 1.85) with girls being slightly higher at risk (IRR 1.87). Being a girl or between the ages of 13-17 years old were risk factors for self-poisoning.

CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that the restrictions enforced during the second lockdown greatly impacted youth mental health, especially girls, leading to an 85% increase in self-poisonings. We hope for increased awareness of mental health in children and adolescents during possible future lockdowns.

TidsskriftNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)431-439
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2024


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