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World Suicide Prevention Day - 10th September

2008 WSPD

2008 - Think Globally, Plan Nationally, Act Locally

(Click the link above to find World Suicide Prevention Day flyers in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese, and to find a listing of activities from around the world.)

Think Globally - Extent of the Problem
Think Globally - Collaboration
Think Globally - Research
Plan Nationally - Strategy
Plan Nationally - Evaluation
Plan Nationally - Collaboration
Act Locally - Implementation of Programs
Act Locally - Community Initiatives
Act Locally - Advocacy
What You can do to Support World Suicide Prevention Day

Plan Nationally - Strategy

In 1996 the United Nations and subsequently, the World Health Organisation, recommended that individual countries should develop national suicide prevention policies, linked where possible to other public health programmes, and establish national co-ordinating committees to monitor their implementation and evaluation.

In response to this counsel an increasing number of countries have developed national suicide prevention plans. Generally these plans adopt a public health framework. National strategies are valuable in that they compel governments to acknowledge the problem of suicide, increase national awareness about suicide, have the capacity to enact legislation for suicide prevention (for example, to ensure stricter controls on firearms) and may increase funding for suicide prevention. Such political championship is highly effective, indeed it appears to be vital, in maintaining a government focus on suicide prevention.

National suicide prevention plans generally include a broad range of strategies which typically include efforts to:

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Plan Nationally - Evaluation

An important factor in advancing national plans is the formation of national expert committees to oversee the implementation, evaluation and revision of these plans, as recommended by the United Nations and WHO. However, not all countries have appointed such committees and, overall, the evaluation of national strategies tends to have been conducted poorly and infrequently.

Finland provides one exception. The Finnish national suicide prevention strategy was built strongly on the findings of local research and consisted of a broad national framework which was implemented at a local level. The national strategy was evaluated, and the decline in the suicide rate subsequent to the introduction of the strategy may well be attributable to the strategy.

Generally, however, despite the fact that most countries are now attempting to address suicide in some way at a national level, plans for both implementation and evaluation are generally much less developed than what would constitute a complete national strategy. World Suicide Prevention Day may provide an opportunity to highlight the strengths and promise of national strategies by presenting results of the evaluations of suicide prevention initiatives.

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Plan Nationally - Collaboration

Another interpretation of the "think globally, act locally" maxim is IASP's practice of establishing task forces of members of the association to consider topical issues and problems in suicide prevention.

The task forces consider specific issues which are of global interest, such as developing recommendations for the media reporting and portrayal of suicide, suicide in the military and police, suicide in prisons, suicide in older adults, and establishing support for people bereaved by suicide. Recommendations and guidelines developed by these task forces are disseminated widely on the web and in publications and their adaptation, interpretation and implementation in local contexts are encouraged.

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Act Locally - Implementation of Programs