Population- and Community-Based Interventions to Prevent Suicide: A Systematic Review

Eric J Linskens, Noah C Venables, Allison M Gustavson, Nina A Sayer, Maureen M Nelson, Roderick MacDonald, Kristen E Ullman, Lauren Mckenzie, Timothy J. Wilt, Shahnaz Sultan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Suicide is estimated to account for 1.4% of deaths worldwide, making it among the leading causes of premature death. Public health approaches to reduce suicide have the potential to reach individuals across the spectrum of suicide risk. Aims: To review the effectiveness of newer community-based or population-level suicide prevention strategies. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of literature published from January 2010 to November 2020 to evaluate the effectiveness of community- and population-level interventions. The US Center for Disease Control framework was used for grouping studies by strategy. Results: We included 56 publications that described 47 unique studies. Interventions that reduce access to lethal means, implement organizational policies and culture in police workplace settings, and involve community screening for depression may reduce suicide deaths. It is unclear if other interventions such as public awareness and education campaigns, crisis lines, and gatekeeper training prevent suicide. Evidence was inconsistent for community-based, multistrategy interventions. The most promising multistrategy intervention was the European Alliance Against Depression. Limitations: Most eligible studies were observational and many lacked concurrent control groups or adjustment for confounding variables. Conclusions: Community-based interventions that may reduce suicide deaths include reducing access to lethal means, implementing organizational policies in workplace settings, screening for depression, and the multistrategy European Alliance Against Depression Program. Evidence was unclear, inconsistent, or lacking regarding the impact of many other single- or multistrategy interventions on suicide deaths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-340
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the VHA HSR&D, Evidence Synthesis Program (#09-009); VHA Office of Academic Affiliations Advanced Fellowship in Clinical and Health Services Research (TPH 67-000) [AMG], and the Minneapolis Center of Innovation, Center for Care Delivery and Outcomes Research (CIN 13-406). The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Hogrefe Publishing.


  • community-based interventions
  • population-based interventions
  • public health
  • suicide

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Journal Article


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