A new integrated suicide prevention programme has been developed by a team of researchers from the University of York and Tilburg University in the Netherlands, which has successfully seen deaths reduced by over a fifth.
The five-year Suicide Prevention by Monitoring and Collaborative Care project centred on the Netherlands province of Noord-Brabant, which has historically high suicide rates. It was found that in the year before the programme was implemented, suicide rates were 14.4 per 100,000 people, but after its 2018 implementation, rates fell to 11.8.
Come the year 2021, the rates remained low at 11.3 per 100,000 – a reduction of 21.5 per cent. Furthermore, over the same five-year period, no other region in the country saw the same level of rate reduction.
The study also found that suicide typically occurs in people who don’t receive mental healthcare, while professionals in non-specialised settings, as well as members of the community, are not equipped sufficiently to assess suicide risk, meaning they’re unable to provide treatment as required.
The programme itself is made up of four pillars: Swift identification by triage on the spot of those at risk of suicide, swift access provision to specialist mental healthcare, provision of a dedicated specialist mental health nurse to liaise with treatment providers and 12 month follow-ups via telephone.
Commenting on the findings, lead author of the project professor Christina van der Feltz-Cornelis from the University of York said: “Suicide is a preventable event and we should do what we can to achieve the reduction of suicide rates.
“In this system’s intervention, co-design and digital support for assessing suicide risk in the community combined with swift access and monitoring played a pivotal role.”
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