Mental health

SUPRE Prevention of suicidal behaviours: a task for all


The overall objective of the SUPRE project is to reduce mortality and morbidity due to suicidal behaviours, to break the taboo surrounding suicide, and to bring together national authorities and the public in an integrated manner to overcome the challenges.

Specific objectives are:

  • To bring about a lasting reduction in the number of suicides and suicide attempts, with emphasis on developing countries and countries in social and economic transition.
  • To identify, assess and eliminate at early stages, as far as possible, factors that may result in young people taking their own lives.
  • To raise the general awareness about suicide and provide psychosocial support to people with suicidal thoughts or experiences of attempted suicide, and to their relatives and close friends, as well as to those of people who committed suicide.

WHO strategy

The following basic elements are envisaged, along the lines of the Primary Health Care strategy:

  • Organization of global, regional and national multi-sectoral activities to increase awareness about suicidal behaviours and their effective prevention.
  • Strengthening of countries' capability to develop and evaluate national policies and plans for suicide prevention. The following activities, adapted to countries' particular needs, will be developed:
    • Support and treatment of populations at risk (e.g. people with depression, elderly, youth);
    • Reduction of availability of and access to means of suicide (e.g. toxic substances, handguns);
    • Support/strengthening of networks of survivors of suicide;
    • Training of primary health care workers and other sectors.
  • Countries in which: (i) overall suicide rates are particularly high (e.g. China, Cuba, Lithuania, Mauritius, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka), (ii) the age distribution is skewed towards young people or women or (iii) the prevention of suicide is already of special concern, will be considered as priorities for launching the project's activities.
  • The SUPRE project will be managed and evaluated in close collaboration with regional offices and governments concerned, and assisted by a Task Force.


The SUPRE project is managed by the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. The work is conducted in coordination with different clusters and departments at headquarters (i.e. Health Systems, Child and Adolescent Health and Development, Chemical Safety), WHO Regional Offices, sister UN agencies (e.g. UN, ILO, UNICEF and UNESCO), relevant NGOs and WHO Collaborating Centres.

Activities (overall)

  • Suicide mortality surveillance
  • Technical support to countries
  • Regional and national workshops
  • Production and dissemination of resources
  • Awareness-raising and advocacy
  • Multisite Intervention Study on Suicidal Behaviours (SUPRE MISS)