Brussels, September 9, 2014
EFPA, the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations, wants to raise awareness of suicide and suicide risk on the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, 2014
On the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, the European Federation of Psychologists Associations (EFPA) highlights the importance of awareness of suicide and suicide risk, and how understanding the difficulties faced by people who find themselves in this situation, is crucial for prevention. Psychology, in particular, can contribute to further our understanding of suicide including why it happens and effective strategies that can prevent it.
Suicide is a significant issue in our society and is one of the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44, and the second leading cause in the 10-24 year age group in some countries. Mental health problems (particularly depression and problematic alcohol use) are major risk factors for suicide. This means that many people are often dealing with more than one problem. The most vulnerable, such as the young, the elderly and the socially isolated, are in the greatest need of suicide prevention efforts. It is important to address the specific underlying causes of suicide and develop action plans to suit each country and its communities.
Some countries have adopted an approach that promotes population well-being as this can be a protective factor especially for those who experience challenging events in their lives, for example, becoming unemployed. Positive psychology has begun to provide excellent policy pointers for this agenda.
EFPA encourages all national governments to take action now, to prevent suicide. Prof. dr. Roe, President of EFPA: ‘We also encourage all NGOs in the mental health field to advocate for the implementation of a broad World Health Organisation (WHO) inspired strategy in your countries region and globally’. EFPA urges governments and policy makers to consider more use of psychological knowledge and psychologists in suicide prevention. Psychological knowledge can be used not only for treating people with mental health problems. Psychology can to an even greater extent guide governments in choosing the right preventive methods, which will lead to real behavior change at a population level.
Dr Tony Wainwright, EFPA Board Prevention and Intervention, and Dr Pauline Adair, Psychology and Health committee,: ‘We would also encourage all media organizations to consider carefully how they report someone taking their own life, as we know that this raises the risk of vulnerable people imitating what is described. Psychologists can guide and influence media reporting. Providing psychological support to those who are close to someone who has taken their own life is also something that EFPA would encourage where possible.’
Prof. Roe: ‘EFPA strongly endorses the work done by WHO on suicide prevention, and specially the framework document for Public Health Action for the prevention of suicide. (http://www.who.int/mental_health/suicide-prevention/world_report_2014/en/)
In this document governments and NGOs can find a stepwise approach to the development of a strategy tailored to their country; on a general population level, for at risk populations on an individual level’.
Pauline Adair – EFPA Standing committee Psychology and Health- pauline.adair(at)strath.ac.uk
Tony Wainwright – EFPA Board of Prevention and Intervention - t.w.wainwright(at)exeter.ac.uk