Introduction

Experts anticipate that the societal fallout associated with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic will increase suicidal behavior, and strategies to address this anticipated increase have been woven into policy decision-making without contemporaneous data.1,2 For instance, President Trump cited increased suicides as an argument against COVID-19 control measures during the first presidential debate on September 29, 2020.

Given the time delays inherent in traditional population mental health surveillance, it is important for decision-makers to seek other contemporaneous data to evaluate potential associations.3 To assess the value that free and public internet search query trends can provide to rapidly identify associations, we monitored suicide-related internet search rates during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US.

CC0 License, Pixabay

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