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

Hynes DM, Niederhausen M, Chen JI, Shahoumian TA, Rowneki M, Hickok A, Shepherd-Banigan M, Hawkins EJ, Naylor J, Teo A, Govier DJ, Berry K, McCready H, Osborne TF, Wong E, Hebert PL, Smith VA, Bowling CB, Boyko EJ, Ioannou GN, Iwashyna TJ, Maciejewski ML, O'Hare AM, Viglianti EM, Bohnert AS. Risk of Suicide-Related Outcomes After SARS-COV-2 Infection: Results from a Nationwide Observational Matched Cohort of US Veterans. Journal of general internal medicine. 2023 Oct 26.

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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.

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