A “suicide pact” is a joint and actively induced death of two individuals with the essential and unavoidable characteristic of a mutual consent. One of the partners (dominant in the relationship, commonly male) usually induces the action and in most cases, it is the one who actively carries it out. Undiagnosed psychopathological dimension or pathological subthreshold traits are found in those who enter into suicide agreements, the presence of cluster B personality traits such as narcissistic or borderline is of particular relevance in the dominant partner, while in the submissive one dependent personality traits are more frequent. As in the case of other similar health emergencies, COVID-19 pandemic seems to lead to greater suicidality, including the “suicide pacts” of couples whose motivation varies including firstly financial problems, strictly followed by fear of infection and not being able to return home from abroad.
We reported a case of a couple who entered a suicide agreement consequently to the economic difficulties caused by COVID-19 pandemic, hospitalized in our department. Both partners were assessed with Adult Autism Subthreshold Spectrum (AdAS Spectrum) and both crossed the threshold for clinically relevant autistic traits (M = 67; F = 49).
This case further confirms the link between COVID-19 pandemics and suicidality. The role of autism spectrum traits as a vulnerability factor towards the development of severe psychopathological consequences after traumatic events is also stressed.