Reductions in suicidal and self-harm presentations to emergency departments (EDs) since COVID-19 indicate changes in help-seeking behaviours, but it is unknown if hospital avoidance equally affects all population groups.
Socio-demographic and clinical information relating to suicidal and self-harm presentations to EDs in Queensland, Australia, were compared for the period before (March-August 2019) and since the COVID-19 outbreak (March-August 2020).
Since COVID, Indigenous Australians and persons with less severe suicidal and self-harm presentations had significantly reduced presentations, while persons younger than 18 years had more presentations. Less suicidal presentations resulted in an admission to inpatient care.
Patterns of reduced attendance to ED in some groups suggest the need for innovative and community-based models of care to help prevent suicides during the pandemic.