Saving Lives: A Systematic Review on the Efficacy of Theory-Informed Suicide Prevention Programs

Karien Hill, Shawn Somerset, Deanne Armstrong, Ralf Schwarzer, Carina Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Suicide is a global epidemic. This review assessed the scope and effectiveness of suicide prevention programs. Systematic literature searches were conducted using PsycINFO, ERIC and MEDLINE to retrieve articles published between January 2007 and March 2017 and fulfilled inclusion criteria (studies evaluating the efficacy of theory/model-informed suicide prevention programs in increasing participant knowledge or skills when presented with a peer at risk of suicide). The review is informed by PRISMA guidelines. Of 1398 studies identified, 25 were reviewed and most: targeted professionals; were 1–4-day workshops; were underpinned by 21 different theories; taught less detail to the community than professionals; and improved target outcomes. Current programs, although effective, are limited by their inaccessibility, narrow content for the community and substantial variability in theory base. Future suicide prevention programs will benefit from being informed by a more specific theory, delivered through technology, targeting more of the community and improving methodological rigour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-473
Number of pages20
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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