Suicide Prevention and Public Health
A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2011) | Viewed by 321929
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According to WHO estimates, approximately one million people die each year from suicide worldwide, and approximately 10-20 times that number will attempt suicide. Among the age group 15-34 years, suicide ranks second in some European countries as the most common cause of death, following traffic and other accidents. It is imperative to recognize that these fatalities can be avoided given that suicide is preventable.
There are essential strategies in suicide prevention that prove invaluable. One recognized conceptual strategies in suicide prevention is the Universal/Selective/Indicated (U.S.I.) model. The USI scheme has both a temporal perspective and target population perspective. Universal prevention is primarily aimed at general populations, e.g. the limitation of access to toxic substances, which are used as means of suicide and increasing awareness about prevention of mental ill-health and suicide. Selective prevention targets subgroups that are at increased risk for suicidal behavior, e.g. treatment of people with mental disorders and substance use disorders, psychological support to persons in crisis situations or with physical disabilities. Indicated prevention is directed at persons who have already experienced symptoms. For instance, an intervention in the indicated scheme is treatment and close follow-up of people with depression, bipolar disorders, recurrent psychotic episodes and intensive psychosocial follow-up of suicide attempters.
Suicide prevention strategies can be healthcare or public health oriented. Health care oriented schemes use the individual-centered approach with the focus on early diagnosis of psychiatric disorders (e.g. depression), treatment of patients, attitudes toward suicide and suicide prevention among healthcare staff. Public health strategies, in prevention of suicide, are directed toward groups and whole populations. Its objectives are to promote mental health policies and education about prevention of mental ill-health and suicide in working places, schools, etc.as well as education of general public about prevention of mental problems and about treatment of mental disorders.
It is important to integrate various conceptual frameworks and strategies in order to maximize their effectiveness. Prevention of suicide should always involve a whole series of activities, ranging from improving conditions for bringing up children and young people, to controlling environmental risk factors, to giving the best effective treatment of mental disorders both in the community and within the mental health care services. Given the importance of suicide prevention and the need to better integrate various conceptual frameworks and strategies, additional work and debates are needed.
Prof. Dr. Danuta Wasserman
Prof. Dr. Gustavo Turecki
- attempted suicide