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Cost of Suicide and Prevention Strategies 

Cost of Suicide and Prevention Strategies
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date: 22 September 2019

In considering suicide prevention measures it is important to consider potential economic risk factors, as well as the costs and consequences of suicide. We provide a brief overview of some areas where economics has played a role in the analysis of suicide and suicide prevention strategies. Evidence on the wide-ranging socioeconomic costs and consequences of suicide is provided, as well as a reflection on the development of economic theories on individual motivations for suicide. The evidence from econometric models at both cross-country and single country levels on the links between suicide and socio-economic risk factors such as poverty and unemployment are reviewed. Cost-effectiveness is increasingly used as part of decision-making processes in health and other sectors. In respect of suicide prevention, such evidence remains limited. The present review, nonetheless, suggests that suicide prevention measures may be highly cost-effective. Incorporating economic analyses into future effectiveness studies is likely to help strengthen the case for investment in suicide prevention. There is also scope to look at the economic implications of interventions already shown to be effective.

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