Decriminalisation of Attempted Suicide – IASP Policy Position Statement

Decriminalisation of Attempted Suicide – IASP Policy Position Statement

Members of the (IASP) recently ratified & passed a policy position statement on the decriminalisation of attempted suicide. This is an important step in suicide prevention & suicide awareness policy and advocacy efforts and supports current international efforts for mental health action and investment.

Suicide is a global public health problem and among the top 20 causes of death globally for people of all ages. It remains a universal challenge impacting millions.

Suicide is illegal in 25 countries which have specific laws for attempted suicide and in an additional 10 countries which follow Sharia law people who attempt suicide may also be punished.

Accessing healthcare is a fundamental human right. WHO (2014) found no empirical evidence that decriminalising suicidal behaviours leads to an increase in suicide rates and urges countries to “review their legal provisions in relation to suicide to ensure they do not deter people from seeking help”. In addition,

the IASP policy position states that ‘The criminalisation of attempted suicide undermines prevention efforts and restricts access of vulnerable individuals to suicide prevention and mental health services.’

IASPs next step is to seek endorsements in support of this policy position statement from friends and wider networks, from large international organisations to community led crisis lines. We aim for these endorsements to raise awareness for the decriminalisation of attempted suicide but to also demonstrate the international will for this important step in advancing mental health policy.

More information on the decriminalisation of attempted suicide can be found here: