There is currently no evidence to show an increase in suicides during lockdown
Misinformation, even shared by some politicians, has claimed deaths by suicide increased 200 per cent during lockdown
You don't need a PhD in psychoanalysis to understand the mental health impacts of the coronavirus shutdowns, although it might stop you from jumping to conclusions. Several metrics are spiking, loneliness for instance reached its highest level since March as the clocks went back at the beginning of November.
But right now we simply don't have the data to conclude whether or not there has been an increase in suicides during the pandemic - the latest reporting available does not cover the period since society closed in March.
However since March an unsubstantiated figure has been floating around social media, even being shared by some high profile politicians, alleging that suicides have increased by 200 per cent. As yet there is no evidence to support this claim.
We might be inclined to agree that suicides would increase during lockdown but without any empirical evidence to support the claim, sharing it is incredibly damaging. Not least because as Samaritans rightly and regularly say reporting, let alone misreporting, suicide as a trend can negatively impact the vulnerable. Suicide is complex, there is no single trigger. Suggesting there is a spike can lead to feelings of inevitability around something that is wholly preventable.
Rosena Allin-Khan is a Labour MP, shadow minister for mental health and a qualified doctor. She spoke to Oli Dugmore about suicide misinformation, as well as potential profiteering on government PPE contracts.