Natural disasters and suicidal behaviours

Read the full review here [Note: not free access – pay per view]

There is a need for further research with solid designs to elucidate the impact of natural disasters on suicidal behaviors. Mental health and suicidal behaviors should be monitored for several years after a disaster.

This systematic review assessed the potential impact of natural disasters on suicidal behaviors by analyzing 42 papers. 19 of these papers analysed suicide mortality and 23 non-fatal suicidal behaviors. The effects of earthquakes have most frequently been studied in relation to suicidal behaviors (n=20), followed by hurricanes (n=11), tsunamis (n=4), floods (n=3), heat waves and drought (n=3), and multiple disasters (n=1). There is a drop in non-fatal suicidal behaviors in the initial post-disaster period. Some studies report a delayed increase in suicidal behaviors. Previous and current mental health problems are factors that could increase the risk of suicidal behaviors after natural disasters. Economic conditions should also be considered as a possible contributing factor.

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