National suicide management guidelines recommending family-based prevention, intervention and postvention and their association with suicide mortality rates: systematic review Academic Article uri icon

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  • BackgroundSuicidal behaviour remains a major public health concern and countries have responded by authoring guidelines to help mitigate death by suicide. Guidelines can include family-based recommendations, but evidence for the level and category of family-based involvement that is needed to effectively prevent suicide is unclear.AimsTo explore the association between family-based recommendations in guidelines and countries’ crude suicide rates. PROSPERO registration: CRD42019130195.MethodMEDLINE, Embase, PsycInfo, Web of Science and WHO MiNDbank databases and grey literature were searched within the past 20 years (1 January 2000 to 22 June 2020) for national guidelines giving family-based recommendations in any of three categories (prevention, intervention and postvention).ResultsWe included 63 guidelines from 46 countries. All identified guidelines included at least one family-based recommendation. There were no statistically significant differences seen between mean World Health Organization crude suicide rates for countries that included only one, two or all three categories of family-based recommendations. However, a lower spread of crude suicide rates was seen when guideline recommendations included all three categories (mean crude suicide rates for one category: 11.09 (s.d. = 5.71); for two categories: 13.42 (s.d. = 7.76); for three categories: 10.68 (s.d. = 5.20); P = 0.478).ConclusionsCountries should work towards a comprehensive national suicide guideline that includes all categories of family-based recommendations. Countries with previously established guidelines should work towards the inclusion of evidence-based recommendations that have clear implementation plans to potentially help lower suicide rates.


  • Panesar, Balpreet
  • Soni, Divya
  • Khan, Mohammed I
  • Bdair, Faris
  • Holek, Matthew
  • Tahir, Talha
  • Woo, Julia
  • Sanger, Nitika
  • Khumalo, Nonhlanhla P
  • Minuzzi, Luciano
  • Thabane, Lehana
  • Samaan, Zainab

publication date

  • March 2022