Background: A four-level community-based intervention aiming simultaneously to improve the care for depression and to prevent suicidal behavior has been implemented in the German city Munich.
Aims: Changes in suicide rates in Munich during 2009-2014 were analyzed with respect to a 10-year baseline. The same was true for a control region (Cologne) and Germany minus Munich.
Method: The interventions included training of primary care providers, a public awareness campaign, training of community facilitators, and support for patients and relatives. Analyses included repeated-measures, generalized linear models.
Results: In Munich, the suicide rate significantly decreased during the intervention period compared to baseline (percentage change = -15.0%; p < .001, 198 compared to 222 suicides per year). Differences in the change for Munich and the change for the control locations (Cologne; -1.7%; p = .71) and Germany minus Munich (-6.2%; p = .09) were not significant.
Limitations: Data on suicide attempts were unavailable.
Conclusion: In Munich, a clinically and statistically significant decrease in suicide rate was found. This change was numerically but not significantly larger than in the control regions. The results are promising, however. Because of low suicide base rates and limited power, no strong conclusions can be drawn concerning suicide preventive effects of the intervention.