3.5 National Suicide Prevention Strategy


What does this measure refer to and what is its objective?

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS) refers to collaboration between different national organisations in order to prevent railway suicides in a specific country. Occasionally, this measure is carried out in the wider scope to reduce the number of the suicides in general, not only on the railways. This measure may also be referred as: national working group to prevent suicides, national program against suicides, National Suicide Prevention Group (NSPG), National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA).


Best practice and lessons learned

  • Redefine some roles among your staff and allocate time for inter-agency meetings and work activities.
  • Make political lobby. Political acceptance (and guidelines) of suicide being a growing public problem and not a railway problem will help focus agencies, organisations and operators making joint efforts to challenge the problem.
  • Propose / organize national inter-agency meetings.
  • Try to get it initiated by Department of Health
  • The group can be divided in two subgroups: NSPSG (National Suicide Prevention Steering Group) and NSPWG (National Suicide Prevention Working Group).
  • Limitation of access to suicide methods forms a major component of many national suicide prevention strategies.

Warning points

Expected difficulties and issues you should pay attention to

  • This might depend on the degree of openness and willingness to change in different cultures, or different legal constraints in different countries (e.g. relating to how information is shared; whether power is important to some organisations or agencies; whether there are specific legal requirements that could limit collaboration).
  • There may be the potential for better collaboration as the organisations and agencies become familiar with models of joint working. However, any initial benefits from better joint working might lapse if individuals who have been important in promoting the collaborative working move to different jobs, or if initial funding sources cannot be maintained (e.g. financial cutbacks).
  • Costs are largely time related, potentially including need for some release from other work activities. Might also include costs of travel for meetings.


Other points that you should not forget

Study results

Data or other evidence supporting the measure's effectiveness

  • The German Railway Suicide Prevention Project let to a significant fall in rail suicides compared with the general reduction in Germany. The absolute number of railway suicides decreased from 1006 in 1998 to 724 in 2006. The mean suicide rate in the control years was 13.9% (95% CI 6.9 to 20.4) lower compared to the index years (p<0.001). Adjusting for the overall suicide rate attenuated the decline of the railway suicide rate (annual percentage change 4.8%, 95% CI 1.8 to 7.8) but significance remained (p=0.002) (Baumert et al., 2011).
  • Local community partnerships can provide an effective and relatively low cost means of deterring trespass (RSSB, 2005).
  • Examples and positive results of partnership working can be found in the annual report “Improving suicide prevention methods and on the rail network in Great Britain” (RSSB, 2013). See more results of the suicide prevention programme in Great Britain in this presentation.

last update: 2017-03-10