Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Suicide and Social Workers' Role in Prevention and Bereavement

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Rachel Hanna
Anjanette Wells


By Rachel Hanna, Social Work

Advisor: Anjanette Wells

Award: Excellence in Research Communication

Presentation ID: 215

Abstract: With the policies of quarantine and its effects which consists of stress, mourning, economic problems, and loneliness, the World Health Organization warned that there will be an increase in mental illness, substance abuse, and suicide rates (Padron-Monedero et al., 2020). While there have been previous studies on the impact of COVID-19 on suicide rates, there is a lack of studies focusing on social workers' roles in suicide prevention and bereavement. Social workers often need to evaluate clients' moods and complete risk assessments, if clients appear to be suicidal then social workers need to be able to take action. If social workers are working with family members or friends of someone who has died by suicide, they should be able to properly assist them and implement crisis intervention if needed. At the Victim's Assistance Liaison Unit in the Cincinnati Police Department, social workers respond on the scene when there has been a suicide and then assist the family afterward. This qualitative study will be observing census data that the agency has collected on suicide rates throughout past years and during the pandemic to determine if there has been an increase. Interviews were also conducted with social workers at the Victim's Assistance Liaison Unit in the Cincinnati Police Department to explore what suicide prevention looks like to them and how they believe social workers can be of assistance when it comes to the bereavement process of suicide loss. This study found that suicide rates in Cincinnati increased by 21.2% since the pandemic.

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Category: Health & Body