Intended for healthcare professionals


Suicide prevention

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 31 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5779
  1. Michael Kaess, child and adolescent psychiatry fellow
  1. 1Orygen Youth Health, 35 Poplar Road, Parkville VIC 3052, Australia
  1. michael.kaess{at}

Early public health interventions may be the answer

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death worldwide, with a rate of about 14.5/100 000 people a year.1 Suicide often affects younger people than other causes of death, and it is the second most common cause of death among European youth.2 Given these figures, suicide prevention efforts are critical and are one of the World Health Organization’s prime health policy goals.3

A linked paper by Morthorst and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.e4972) reports the findings of the Assertive Intervention of Deliberate Self Harm (AID) Trial, which investigated the effectiveness of an assertive outreach intervention that offered patients motivational support and provided assistance with help seeking, attending appointments, treatment compliance, and crisis management after a suicide attempt.4 The rationale behind this randomised controlled trial was clear: episodes of deliberate self harm often precede completed suicide,5 and most suicides occur in the context of mental illness.6 Adequate assessment of mental state and follow-up care after a suicide attempt are therefore important. In reality, however, only a minority of those who attempt suicide receive adequate care, and facilitating optimum follow-up …

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