Gilmour L, Maxwell M & Duncan E (2019) Policy addressing suicidality in children and young people: An international scoping review. University of Stirling. Stirling. https://www.stir.ac.uk/research/public-policy-hub/policy-briefings/
Suicide is a global health policy priority. As many as 800,000 lives are lost to suicide annually, in what is arguably a preventable cause of death. The World Health Organisation’s Mental Health Action Plan 2013-20 sets a target of reducing suicide rates by 10% by 2020, with member states agreeing to work towards this outcome. However, public policies instituted at national level can vary in how they translate this target into practical support.
Suicide is a leading cause of death among children and young people (CYP) worldwide, with an estimated 1 in 3 children in some countries having considered suicide in the past year. Despite acknowledgment that children and young people have different needs to adults, most suicide prevention and mental health strategies take a universal approach, in which the specific needs for children and young people risk becoming lost.
As the WHO’s target date of 2020 approaches, this briefing paper summarises a global review of national policy documents,
considering how they address the treatment and care needs of suicidal children and young people. In doing so, it highlights best practice for how policy can influence the resourcing of services, and identifies gaps in policy provision for this vulnerable population. The paper aims to support both the WHO and individual countries that wish to develop new, or refine existing policies that address suicidality in children and young people.
Suicide; self-harm; mental health