Background: Studies show that the COVID-19 pandemic has promoted distress and
stress-related symptoms in the general population. It has also increased the suicide rate in vulnerable
groups who cannot handle the social and psychological consequences of the pandemic and the
measures in place to halt it.
Objective: In this study, we compared the lethality of suicide attempts and the methods chosen between
the three months before the COVID-19 pandemic and three months during curfew and lockdown
in Saudi Arabia.
Methods: This is a retrospective, causal-comparative study conducted at King Saud Medical City in
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A total of 62 suicide attempt cases between January 2020 and June 2020
were included in this study. The scale for assessment of the lethality of suicide attempts (SALSA)
was used for comparison, and cross-tabulation was used for the data of suicide methods.
Results: There was a significant difference (P = 0.003) in the total SALSA score before and during
the COVID-19 lockdown. The scores of the lethality of suicide attempts were high during the lockdown.
No significant difference was found in the suicide methods selected between the two time
periods. However, the use of psychotropic medication overdose and self-immolation were prominent
during the lockdown period.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic is likely associated
with increased lethality of suicide attempts as well as an increased suicide rate. The development
of appropriate mental health services is required.