Introduction: To examine the effectiveness of universal suicide prevention interventions on reducing suicide mortality in high-income Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries.
Methods: We implemented a comprehensive search strategy across three electronic databases: MEDLINE (Ovid), PsycINFO (Ovid) and Embase (Ovid). All studies using time-series, retrospective, prospective, pre-post or cross-sectional study designs were included. Studies were required to examine suicide mortality as the outcome of interest. To help organise the results, studies were grouped into six broad categories of universal interventions consistent with the World Health Organization (WHO) Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan. A narrative synthesis of results was used to describe the findings.
Results: Of the 15 641 studies identified through the search strategy, 100 studies were eligible in the following categories: law and regulation reforms (n=66), physical barriers (n=13), community-based interventions (n=9), communication strategies (n=4), mental health policies and strategies (n=7), and access to healthcare (n=1). Overall, 100% (13/13) of the included physical barrier interventions resulted in a significant reduction in suicide mortality. Although only 70% (46/66) of the law and regulation reform interventions had a significant impact on reducing suicide, they hold promise due to their extended reach. Universal suicide prevention interventions seem to be more effective at reducing suicide among males than females, identifying a need to stratify results by sex in future studies.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that universal suicide prevention interventions hold promise in effectively reducing suicide mortality in high-income OECD countries.