Our role is to develop coordination and monitoring of suicide and suicide preventive work, as well as to develop and disseminate knowledge support to national, regional and local actors working within the mental health and suicide prevention field.
The Agency's coordination is carried out through a national collaboration group of authorities and a national interest group with researchers and representatives of the non-profit sector (NGO's). The aim of national coordination is to:
- bring together and develop suicide preventive work,
- identify areas for collaboration and create synergies between national stakeholders,
- highlight the need for knowledge, and
- prevent duplication of efforts.
Monitoring and knowledge support
We monitor the development of suicide and suicide preventive work. This is done by analysing and presenting statistics e.g. on trends in suicide rates and by mapping suicide preventive measures.
We also develop and disseminate knowledge about suicide and suicide prevention. This may include collaborations with researchers in specific projects, or summarizing other research and presenting it in a way that is adapted to different target groups, such as in factsheets, and spreading it through different channels e.g. on the web, in social media, at conferences and seminars. Our work with knowledge support focuses on population-based suicide prevention, i.e. measures mainly carried out outside the health care sector.
In our work, we collaborate closely with other authorities, such as The National Board of Health and Welfare, who is responsible for producing national standards and guidelines within the fields of social services, health and medical services, and patient safety. They also maintain national health data registers and official statistics such as The Swedish Cause of Death Register, where all suicides in Sweden are registered, and is updated annually. Other agencies included in our collaboration are the National Transport Administration, the Swedish Medical Products Agency, The Swedish Prison and Probation Service, The Swedish Migration Agency, and the Police. We also work with the National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (NASP) at Karolinska Institutet.
Each agency and stakeholder involved in suicide preventive work is responsible for developing measures within its respective sector. Our focus is on developing knowledge in the field of public health and providing a platform for knowledge transfer and collaboration between the different stakeholders.
Grants to support to civil society
The work that non-profit organizations do in suicide prevention is very important. Therefore, the Public Health Agency has been assigned by the government to allocate state grants to NGO's within the field of mental health and suicide prevention. For 2024, the sum of these grants was nearly 90 million SEK. With these funds, organisations are supported in their efforts to develop and spread knowledge, for example, through education and public awareness-raising efforts. Many organizations also provide social support to different target groups, or direct support to people with different mental health needs. The non-profit sector often complements the work and support provided by regions and municipalities, not the least when it comes to supporting survivors of suicide.
Grants to regions and municipalities for suicide prevention
Since 2020, a state stimulus grant of 200 million SEK, has been allocated by the government for local and regional work with suicide prevention. The grant has been used to strengthen suicide prevention in several areas, and as a result, the number of regional (and local) suicide specific strategies or action plans has increased significantly. More specifically, the grant has been used to:
- recruit local and regional suicide prevention coordinators (often leading cross-sector collaborative networks)
- implement education and training programs for staff (e.g. MHFA)
implement other educational and awareness-raising activities (e.g. to reduce stigma)
- assist schools in implementing YAM and other school-based prevention
- map and develop continuity in health service delivery
- develop support for the bereaved
The Public Health Agency of Sweden is commissioned by the government to follow-up, evaluate and support the efforts being carried out using the state stimulus grant.
National policy and EU collaboration
Sweden’s suicide prevention efforts are guided by a National Action Program for Suicide Prevention, which was ratified by the parliament in 2008. A proposal for a new strategy, however, was presented to the government on September 1, 2023. The Public Health Agency and the National Board of Health and Welfare, in close cooperation with 24 other authorities, developed the proposal which combines mental health and wellbeing with suicide prevention in the same policy document, with goals and indicators for follow-up.
The development of the proposed new national strategy was informed and supported by the Public Health Agency’s participation in the EU financed Joint Action ImpleMENTAL (JA on Implementation of Best Practices in the area of Mental Health).
The joint action is about implementing best practices in promotion and prevention in the area of mental health, where a specific part focuses on developing national suicide prevention strategies. It is a 3-year collaboration, and the goal is that by the end of the project period, each country will have a new or updated national strategy for suicide prevention. In total, 21 countries are participating in the EU collaboration, which is being coordinated from Greece. Learn more about the Joint Action:
JA ImpleMENTALs website (ja-implemental.eu)
National action programme for suicide prevention
The national action programme adopted by the Swedish Parliament in 2008 contains nine strategic areas of action to reduce the incidence of suicide. This brochure provides examples of what initiatives can be used in order to achieve this goal, and is directed at everyone working on, or about to start working on, suicide prevention work in, for example, a municipality, region or other type of organisation.