To describe the trends in suicide rates in Brazil from 2011 to 2020 and determine whether these rates are associated with COVID-19 pandemic-related variables.
This ecological time series study analyzed mortality from suicide with a focus on 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The suicide mortality rate per 100 000 population was the primary outcome. The trends in suicide rates were estimated using generalized Prais-Winsten regression. An autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model was used to predict suicide rates in 2020. The association between suicide rates and death rates from COVID-19, unemployment, receiving emergency financial aid, and rates of social distancing was investigated.
From 2011 to 2020, 115 469 deaths by suicide were recorded in Brazil (60.5 deaths/100 000 population). The suicide rate in 2020 was 6.68/100 000 population. An increasing trend in suicide rates was observed from 2011 to 2020 in both sexes, with annual percent change of 0.23 (95%CI: 0.141; 0.322) in women; and 1.19 (95% CI: 0.714; 1.810) in men. Mortality by suicide increased in all regions, with the highest increase recorded in the South. There was no evidence of increase in deaths by suicide in relation to the expected number during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Suicide rates increased for both sexes and in all Brazilian states. In the first pandemic year, the number of deaths by suicide did not increase in relation to the expected number, with a stability trend during the months of 2020.