The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention: Research, Policy and Practice

By Rory C. O’Connor; Jane Pirkis | Go to book overview

Introduction

Rory C. O’Connor and Jane Pirkis

Since the publication of the first edition of the International Handbook of Suicide Prevention in 2011 (O’Connor, Platt, & Gordon, 2011), Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative has been published by the World Health Organization (World Health Organization [WHO], 2014). This landmark publication, the first ever world suicide prevention report, highlighted the scale of the task of suicide prevention. At least 804,000 people take their own lives each year across the globe, which translates into a death every 40 seconds. The report also touches on many of the issues that we examine in detail herein, including the epidemiology of suicide and how best to intervene to prevent it. We are delighted that many of those who contributed to the WHO report have authored chapters for the second edition of this Handbook.

There are a number of changes in this edition of the Handbook. First, there is a change in editorship. Rory C. O’Connor has been joined by Jane Pirkis from University of Melbourne as coeditor, and Jane takes the place of Stephen Platt and Jacki Gordon, who were coeditors of the first edition. Second, we have expanded the Handbook; in terms of chapters, it is now 20% longer, which has allowed us to include more hot topics in suicide research and prevention. Third, given that the majority of the world’s suicides occur in Asia and low- and middle-income countries, additional chapters have been dedicated to better understand suicide across different countries and cultures. Fourth, the majority of chapters end with a section describing up to 10 key resources. These resources include a selection of journal articles, books, reports, or online resources that the authors believe the reader would benefit from reading.

As in the first edition of the Handbook, we have tried to understand why people attempt suicide and what can be done to reduce suicide by harnessing the expertise of more than 110 suicidologists from across the world. The Handbook offers kaleidoscopic views on the complex multitude of factors that may explain suicidal behavior and the array of approaches to suicide prevention. It should appeal to anyone with an interest in trying to comprehend suicide and, ultimately, prevent it. To this end, one of the guiding principles of this volume is to improve our understanding of the relationship between attempted suicide and deaths by suicide. A more comprehensive understanding of this relationship is important not only for theoretical and conceptual reasons but also because secondary prevention interventions are frequently directed at those who attempt suicide. Any national or international suicide prevention strategy, to be effective, must be able to engage those who have attempted suicide.

The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention, Second Edition. Edited by Rory C. O’Connor and Jane Pirkis. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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