Evaluating the effectiveness of components of national suicide prevention strategies: an interrupted time series analysis
Schlichthorst, M., Reifels, L., Spittal, M., Clapperton, A., Scurrah, K., Kolves, K., ... Krysinska, K.
Background: National suicide prevention strategies support development of suicide prevention activities and their evaluation. Aims: To describe components included in national suicide prevention strategies and analyze the potential contribution of individual components to reduce suicide rates.
Method: We conducted a narrative review and statistical analysis of national suicide prevention strategies. The narrative review was based on a framework of 12 components and included 29 countries (14 lower middle-income countries [LMICs] and 15 high-income countries [HICs]) with a national suicide prevention strategy. The statistical analyses covered suicide mortality data for 24 countries with a national strategy (9 LMICs and 15 HICs).
Results: The number of components adopted in national strategies ranged from 4 to 11, and training and education were included in 96.5% of strategies. Estimated period effects for total suicide rates in individual countries ranged from a significant decrease in the yearly suicide rate (RR = 0.80; 95% CI 0.69–0.93) to a significant increase (RR = 1.12; 95% CI 1.05–1.19). There were no changes in suicide mortality associated with individual components of national strategies. Limitations: The limitations of existing suicide mortality data apply to our study.
Conclusion: Further detailed evaluations will help identify the specific contribution of individual components to the impact national strategies. Until then, countries should be encouraged to implement and evaluate comprehensive national suicide prevention strategies.