Objectives and activities

Since 1993, NASP has been Stockholm County Council's advisor on Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health, and since 1994, NASP has been the Government's Expert in Suicide Prevention. NASP joined the Karolinska Institutet on 1 October 2007.

NASP:s work is combined in the overall outlines of Karolinska Institutets key objectives. NASP is also a WHO collaboration centre working together with the European regional WHO office in Copenhagen, following the Helsinki Declaration on Mental Health in Europe and with the WHO headquarters in Geneva, regarding suicide prevention on the five continents.

NASP:s main goals

  • To create a lasting reduction in the number of suicides and attempted suicides
  • To remove circumstances which can lead to children and young people taking their lives
  • To aid the early detection and break negative trends of suicide and attempted suicide in target groups
  • To increase general awareness of suicide, to support people with suicidal thoughts and relatives of people who have tried or who have completed suicide.

NASP:s work is divided into four main areas:

Research and development

The aim is to study connections between different determinants for mental and physical ill health that can lead to suicidal behaviour. NASP stimulates research which supports the development of suicide prevention.

Analysis and follow up of epidemiological data

NASP follows the development of suicide and attempted suicide and works to identify risk groups, risk situations and environments.


NASP collates, summarises, and analyses evidence based information which is disseminated through education, information channels and networks, reports and via the Internet.


NASP is proudly driving forward its education program with the goal to disseminate knowledge and information to promote actions within suicide prevention.

Goals and organisation

The goals of NASP are grounded in both the International and National standpoint that concerns suicide preventive work. In Canada in 1993, The EU/WHO established strategies for global suicide preventive work and National guidelines for suicide prevention in Sweden were proposed in 1995. The National Suicide Prevention Programme was rattified in 2008 in collaboration with the Swedish Government and these established the National Public Health goals.

Overall aim of NASP

We aim to make a lasting reduction in the number of suicides and attempted suicides.


  • To work to reduce the circumstances that can lead to children and young people taking their life.
  • To identify early factors and attempt to break stigmatised trends of suicide and attempted suicide in target groups.
  • To work collaboratively to increase the general awareness of suicide so that human fellowship and collective actions can create support for people with suicidal thoughts or for those who have experienced the loss of close or intimate family or friends to suicide or suicide attempts.
  • To work collaboratively to prevent mental health which is related to suicide or suicide attempts.


  • To map and evaluate the development of completed suicide and suicide attempts.
  • To discover and evaluate health promoting factors and environments which can limit the origins and aspects of the suicidal process.
  • To map and evaluate risk groups, risk factors and risk environments related to completed suicide and suicide attempts.
  • To initiate, manage, and evaluate suicide preventive work within the health care system, especially primary care, psychiatric clinics and local county psychiatric services.
  • To increase competence with key workers within healthcare, child and young people services and social services with people working within clinical research which involves suicide risk assessment and taking patients who are close to suicide into care. This will improve the potential for personnel to manage the mental strain associated with this difficult work.
  • To develop and evaluate the new suicide preventive programme in Sweden.
  • To increase collaboration regarding the problem of suicide amongst personnel and politicians within the government, district, county council and other organisations involved in suicide preventive work, including the mass media and the general public.
  • To disseminate knowledge about mental ill-health and suicidal behaviours.


Suicide prevention work at NASP can be divided into two main themes:

Prevention via the health care systems

  • The main aim is to improve health care for this group, including early diagnostic and appropriate management
  • Risk group strategies include epidemiological surveillance, research, education programmes and information.
  • Target groups include healthcare personnel, patients and relatives.

Prevention via the government, councils and voluntary organisations

  • The main aim is to increase awareness and humane fellowship
  • Population group strategies include epidemiological surveillance, research, education programmes and information.
  • Target groups include the armed forces, students, children and young people, and the general public.
  • Arena's for this work includes societies and associations, work places, organisations, schools and nurseries, housing areas.

The main strategy is to allow permission to achieve and optimal admission of a person with suicidal actions and thoughts to prevent the suicidal process stepping up to a suicide attempt or even a completed suicide. In this work, healthcare personnel are very important group.

Another important strategy is to focus the population work on creating supportive environments and to strengthen those already in place, who can help us when we find ourselves in difficult life situations. This population focused work also includes the need to increase peoples awareness of suicidal problems and attempt to remove the myths and taboos that surround it.


NASP:s history stretches back to 1977, when Associate Professor Ruth Ettlinger awoke a motion in Stockholm's County Council concerning preventive actions for suicide and suicide attempts.

Ruth Ettlinger was an Associate Professor in suicide prevention and the forerunner of suicide prevention work in and outside of psychiatry in Sweden. Ruth Ettlinger was involved in the building up of the first suicide prevention research in Sweden and started the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). Ruth even donated an extensive library to NASP. The library is a gold mine for all who which to deepen their knowledge and interest in National and International suicide and suicide prevention.

Following a parliamentary decision in 1994, an initiative by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Stockholm County Council and the Institute for Psychosocial medicine (a part of the Stress research institute at Stockholm University) created a National and Stockholm County's centre for suicide research and prevention of mental ill-health (NASP).

Content reviewer: