Partnerships for Life Update

Partnerships for Life: Global Initiative to Prevent Suicide

The Partnerships for Life (P4L) initiative continues to go from strength to strength, focused on its mission to enhance knowledge about suicide prevention programmes and activities across the different world regions and to support the development of strategic, evidence-informed approaches to suicide prevention globally.

All six regions continue to make significant progress, thanks to the efforts of their regional coordinators and leadership teams.

The Americas (comprising 35 countries) is now led by Professor Mark Sinyor, with support from a team of leading experts drawn from across the region. Contacts have been established in 15 countries across South, Central and North America. Regional awareness-raising workshops are being arranged for 2023 in both the English and Spanish languages, and situation analyses are underway.

In the European region (53 countries), led by Professor Thomas Niederkrotenthaler and supported by Professor Steve Platt, the first two in a series of online workshops, involving 16 countries, have been held. The regional workshops aim to support the development of a strategic approach to suicide prevention through sharing learning about facilitators of, and barriers to, further progress, and encouragement of peer-to-peer learning and mentorship between European countries at different stages of strategy/programme development. A third workshop is under development.

P4L continues to develop well in the African Region (47 countries). Professor Joseph Osafo has identified a leadership team, ably supported by a research assistant. Ghana and Cameroon are two countries in the region with recently established Associations for Suicide Prevention. Recent efforts have focused on building links in French-speaking parts of Africa.

In the Eastern Mediterranean region (22 countries), Professor Murad Khan works alongside Professor Mohsen Rezaeian to deepen the work of the partnership. Eight nations have so far been engaged in the programme and further preparations for sub-regional webinars among these countries are ongoing. One recent important development has been the decriminalisation of suicide in Pakistan.

Professor Lakshmi Vijayakumar and her team in the South East Asian region (12 countries) have made contact with colleagues in 11 countries and situation analyses are in preparation. Indonesia now has a suicide prevention organisation in place, while the Indian government has recently published a national strategy for suicide prevention.

The Western Pacific region (27 countries), under the leadership of Professor Paul Yip and Dr Greg Armstrong, has reached contacts in 12 countries from the southern part of the region, and has a leadership team in place in the north. A series of workshops will be held in the southern part of the region during 2023.

With the employment of research assistants in two areas, and of a further research assistant working within the central IASP office, the team looks forward to continuing its progress through the next year.

The Steering Group, under the chairmanship of Professor Steve Platt, meets quarterly, with interim meetings held in individual regions. A global strategy and individual regional strategies and action plans are now in place, new branding materials are being used, terminology relating to national suicide prevention strategies is being standardised, templates for situation analyses are being finalised for roll-out, and all involved are looking forward to a number of P4L activities at the IASP World Congress in Piran, Slovenia, in September 2023.

Professor Stephen Platt

Notes for Editors

Regional Suicide Prevention Network/Partnerships for Life: Global Initiative to Prevent Suicide

The Special Interest Group for the Development of Effective Suicide Prevention Strategy & Practice launched their Regional Suicide Prevention Networks Programme (RSPNP) in 2021. The RSPNP was established to promote collaboration, coordination and mutual support in the development, implementation and evaluation of suicide prevention strategies. This programme is intended to encourage peer learning and facilitate mentorship between countries with established suicide prevention strategies and countries which are at an earlier stage of suicide prevention strategy development. An important feature of the programme is to raise global awareness about the importance and potential positive impact of a comprehensive, national strategic approach to suicide prevention.

In September 2022, the RSPNP was rebranded to reach a wider audience but maintaining the same mission and objectives. Partnerships for Life: Global Initiative to Prevent Suicide (P4L) continues to be led by a Steering Group comprising the regional coordinators (Professor Joseph Osafo [Africa], Dr Mark Sinyor [the Americas], Professor Murad Khan and Professor Mohsen Rezaeian [Eastern Mediterranean], Professor Thomas Niederkrotenthaler [Europe], Professor Lakshmi Vijayakumar [South-East Asia], Professor Paul Yip and Dr Gregory Armstrong [Western Pacific], and chaired by Professor Steve Platt, with a coordinating team involving Wendy Orchard (IASP Executive Director) and Vanda Scott (IASP International Advisor). Key tasks undertaken during the two years of operation include:

  • Developing a situation analysis: the epidemiology of suicidal behaviour; the current status of suicide prevention strategy and action and associated challenges/issues; the social, political and cultural context.
  • Identifying key country contacts and establishing good working relationships and mutual understanding between these contacts and the regional coordinator.
  • Supporting national teams and collaborative activity under the leadership of the key contact in each country.
  • Introducing webinars to strengthen regional networks.
  • Delivering workshops to share knowledge.
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