Suicide in Europe: an on-going public health concernReport as inadecuate

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Social Psychiatry, Vol.45 No.1 March 2017. -

Every 40 seconds, somewhere in the world someone dies by suicide, with certain groups such as youth and men being most at risk. Research abounds as to the risks and protective factors, but there is still a huge gap in our knowledge as to what leads one person to act on suicidal ideation and another to refrain. Risks factors vary by country, culture, gender and class, and represent a complex and potentially synergistic interplay between biological, psychological, social, environmental and personal factors. These will be discussed in this paper. Many prevention programmes have been established, but no one intervention stands out. At a minimum, country-wide efforts raising awareness of suicide and deliberate self-harm, highlighting risk and protective factors and identifying and treating mental health problems early, particularly in youth, are essential. Targeted methods include public education and media campaigns, providing training for front-line staff in early recognition and, in the case of primary care clinicians, appropriate referrals for treatment of mental illness, generating policies on restricting easy access to lethal means or substances such as alcohol which disinhibit behaviour and reducing the stigma of, and promoting, help-seeking. These efforts should go some way towards slowing what might otherwise become a self-destructive epidemic. We all have a role to play.

Suicide; Europe; Prevention; Self-harm

Author: Fiona McNicolas - ; Dept of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Lucena Clinic, Rathgar; Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Cruml



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