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

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

32
Suicide Prevention Strategies
Case Studies from Across the Globe

Gergö Hadlaczky, Danuta Wasserman, Christina
W. Hoven, Donald J. Mandell, and Camilla Wasserman


Introduction

In this chapter, we present two commonly used evidence-based frameworks for classifying preventive strategies applied in public health: (a) the “primary, secondary, tertiary” prevention model (Goldston, 1987) and; (b) the United States Institute of Medicine model, which incorporates universal, selective, and indicated approaches. To illustrate the utility of such models, examples of current applications of suicide prevention activities and programs from across the globe are examined.


The Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Prevention Model

Three stages of prevention, namely, primary, secondary, and tertiary, target activities before suicidal behaviors occur, at those who are at heightened suicide risk and after suicidal behaviors occur.

Primary prevention consists of activities intended to discourage or impede the completion of suicides before any suicidal behavior has occurred. Such activities can be divided into two categories. The first category consists of actions that afford protection against suicide by reducing, or, where possible, entirely eliminating, known risk factors. These actions are designed to reduce the incidence of suicidal behaviors and restrict the means of completing suicide, such as limiting access to locations that are frequently used for suicide or suicide attempts (so-called “suicide hotspots” or areas of concern) and/or access to guns, poisons, and so forth. Primary prevention also encompasses other activities that address distal risk and protective factors such as promoting awareness, recognition, empathy, and better understanding of mental illness and suicide. Confronting and preventing bullying in schools or combating alcohol consumption may also constitute primary prevention.

The second category of primary prevention activities involves the promotion of protective factors. Examples include promoting healthy lifestyles, enhancing school safety, increasing availability of counseling, training gatekeepers (key members of the

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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