SyneuRx CEO Emil Tsai Publishes a Research Article in The Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific, Indicating a Sharp Increase in Suicide Attempts During the COVID-19 Pandemic in French Polynesia

“Suicide behavior in response to overwhelming stress like pandemic will not be limited to COVID-19. We need to get ready.”, Dr. Guochuan Emil Tsai said.

Press Release

Sep 14, 2023

Papeete, French Polynesia, September 4, 2023 A recent study conducted by the Center Hospitalier de la Polynésie française has revealed worrying conclusions regarding the sharp increase in suicide attempts during the three years of COVID-19 pandemic in French Polynesia. The study, published by the Lancet Regional Health-Western Pacific, identifies striking vulnerable populations, especially young women who were at a markedly alarming normalized incidence rate of 310.4 per 100,000 population in women under 20 years of age. In response to the pandemic, there is an unprecedented adjusted rate of 113.2 per 100,000 population in French Polynesia as a whole. Previous research indicating that suicide attempt in French Polynesia, with an annual incidence rate of 79.4 attempts per 100,000 population recorded about a decade before. 

Most of the suicide attempts were concentrated on the Island of Tahiti while remote archipelagos were less affected. Strikingly, nearly half of those individuals involved had no prior psychiatric diagnosis, underscoring the urgency of addressing the mental health issues within the community, not limited to mentally ill. The data also showed a dramatic 54.9% increase in the third year of the pandemic The end of the pandemic disaster marks a notable upsurge of suicidal behavior with an unpredictable future trend.” “The findings of the study suggest potential correlations, both at individual and social levels, between exposure to the COVID-19 pandemic and suicidal behaviors. Researchers are particularly concerned about the vulnerability of young women in Tahiti.”, said Dr. Johan SEBTI, the lead author of the study. 

Along with the senior author, Professor Dr. Guochuan Emil Tsai from UCLA, Dr. Sebti highlighted, Suicide behavior in response to overwhelming stress like pandemic will not be limited to COVID-19. From the study, we learn the vulnerability and resilience factors that can help cope with upcoming disasters from climate change, for example. I consider the findings provide a framework of climate mental health for the future. We need to get ready.”