Year: 2023 Source: BMC Public Health. (2022). 22, 1945. SIEC No: 20230491
Background Suicide is a major issue affecting communities around the world. Community-based suicide prevention approaches can tailor activities at a local level and are recognised as a key component of national suicide prevention strategies. Despite this, research exploring their effects on completed suicides is rare. This study examined the effect of a national program of community suicide prevention networks on suicide rates in catchment areas across Australia. Methods Australian suicide data from the National Coronial Information System for 2001–2017 were mapped to geographic catchment areas of community suicide prevention networks and matched control areas with similar characteristics. The effect of network establishment on suicide rates was evaluated using longitudinal models including fixed effects for site type (network or control), time, season, and intervention (network establishment), with site included as a random intercept. Results Sixty suicide prevention networks were included, servicing areas with a population of 3.5 million. Networks varied in when they were established, ranging from 2007 to 2016. Across the time-period, suicide rates per 100,000 per quarter averaged 3.73 (SD = 5.35). A significant reduction in the suicide rate of 7.0% was found after establishment of networks (IRR = 0.93, 95% CI 0.87 to 0.99, p = .025). Conclusion This study found evidence of an average reduction in suicide rates following the establishment of suicide prevention networks in Australian communities. These findings support the effectiveness of empowering local communities to take action to prevent suicide.