Suicide Prevention in Stockholm County (SPIS)

Suicide is a major public health problem in Sweden, and is the most common cause of death among men aged 15-44 and the second most common cause of death among women in the same age. About 1500 people die every year by suicide and it is estimated that there are approximately 10 to 20 suicide attempts for each completed suicide.

A large number of suicide attempts are made in Stockholm County annually. Different agencies such as the Police, Emergency Services, Emergency dispatchers (SOS Alarm), and healthcare often work together in efforts to prevent suicide attempts from being committed, or to quickly mitigate the harm inflicted through them. The SPIS Project was developed in a collaborative effort between representatives from SOS Alarm, Stockholm fire department, the County Council, the Police Authority, Ambulance services and NASP (National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill Health), and was launched during autumn 2009 with the aim to prevent suicide in Stockholm County.

A leading group as well as a working group for the project was created. Eventually participants in both the leading and working group were expanded to include representatives from The National Association for Suicide Prevention and Support for Families of Suicide Victims (SPES), the Swedish Prison and Probation Service, the Swedish Transport Administration, and the Stockholm Public Transport administration. There has never been a budget for the project, which has meant that each organization has had to stand for their costs.

During the project a number of sub-project groups have formed:

  • SPIS-alarm (improving the suicide-related emergency indexing at SOS Alarm, and the collaboration among first responders)

  • Police and Nurses in a police car (testing a mobile psychiatric team)

  • Project Family/Public (information and contact leaflet to bystanders and relatives of victims of suicide/attempts)

  • Statistics (increasing and improving the collection of suicide statistics in Stockholm county)

  • Suicide hot-spots (identification of, and intervention at, hot-spots)

  • Suicide preventive education to first responders (AOSP)

The project ended officially in December 2012, but several of the above-mentioned sub-projects are still active or have led to permanent changes and improved routines. Since then, SPIS has also come to encompass other regions of Sweden, and now stands for “Suicide Prevention in Sweden”.

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