Revisiting evidence of primary prevention of suicide among adult populations: A systematic overview
Altavini, C.S., Asciutti, A.P.R., Solis, A.C.O., & Wang, Y-P.
Primary prevention of suicidal behaviors in the general population is required to interrupt the trend of self-inflicted deaths worldwide. We reviewed the evidence of the efficacy of primary prevention of suicide among the adult population.
This is an overview of systematic reviews. We searched PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, PsycINFO, and Cochrane databases to identify articles on suicide prevention strategies in non-clinical populations. For the purpose of overview, only systematic reviews were eligible. Primary outcomes: The outcomes of the present study were changes in the number of suicide death or suicide behaviors. Two reviewers assessed the methodological quality and the risk of bias of included studies.
From the initial 2,315 records, 32 articles met inclusion criteria. Evidence of reduction of suicide-related outcomes was detected, but of small magnitude. Most multicomponent prevention programs were delivered to specific populations, comprising strategies such as restriction to lethal means, educational programs, and gatekeeper training. Means restriction was the single intervention that showed some evidence of individual efficacy in reducing suicide. There is evidence that poor quality of media reporting is related with increasing suicide and better-quality reports could help suicide prevention. Most of the included SRs were of critically-low methodological quality.
Publication bias, reporting bias, study designs, outcome definition and article overlap across studies are the main concerns.
Multicomponent programs and means restriction have indicated a reduction of suicide rates, mainly in specific populations. There is insufficient evidence to recommend a widespread implementation of suicide primary prevention in the general population.