Prevention of mental disorders and suicide

Mental disorders affect people of all ages, cultures and population groups. Suicide is one of the most tragic results. Six out of the top 20 countries in the world with the highest suicide rates are in Europe.

Preventive strategies include reducing the risk factors that contribute to mental health problems, and enhancing the protective factors associated with good mental health. Long-term experience, supported by countries‘ investments, has resulted in effective interventions and examples of good practice. These can inspire strategies and policies to benefit people with mental ill health, and their families and carers.

The WHO European Mental Health Action Plan (2013) encourages Member States to ‘develop and implement suicide prevention strategies that incorporate best evidence, combining a universal approach with activities protecting vulnerable groups.’ Although 77% of European countries declare suicide to be a significant public health concern according to a 2013 survey by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and WHO, currently only 13 European countries are known to have a national suicide strategy.