Coordinated suicide prevention – the Public Health Agency’s Role

Many authorities and other stakeholders on different levels of society can contribute to suicide preventive work. Since 2015, the Public Health Agency of Sweden has been commissioned by the government to coordinate prevention at a national level.

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. Sweden's suicide prevention efforts are guided by a National Action Programme for Suicide Prevention which was ratified by the Swedish parliament in 2008.

National Action Programme for Suicide Prevention

National coordination

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.

Figure. A diagram showing the different sectors involved in suicide preventive work and the structure of national coordination.

A diagram showing the different sectors involved in suicide preventive work and the structure of national coordination.

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 2023, 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 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.

A New National strategy

As mentioned, suicide prevention in Sweden is guided by the National Action Programme for Suicide Prevention, which was ratified by the Swedish parliament in 2008.  In 2020, the government commissioned to the National Board of Health and Welfare and the Public Health Agency, in close cooperation with several other authorities, to draw up a new national strategy encompassing both mental health and suicide prevention.

Each authority involved has completed an individual analysis of the current situation and of the long-term needs within their own area of mental health and suicide prevention. Within their respective areas of responsibility, the authorities have analysed different target groups that are affected and have identified development needs and which areas should be prioritized in a national strategy. We also provided an open invitation to NGOs and other stakeholders to contribute to the new strategy, in order to receive knowledge and input from different target groups and perspectives. Since then, the individual analyses and input from stakeholders have been combined into a common needs analysis, which will inform the direction and content of the new strategy.

The development of the new national strategy is also being 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).

Joint Action ImpleMENTAL (

A proposal for a new national strategy, including goals and indicators for follow-up and a plan for implementation of the strategy, will be presented to the government at the latest on September 1, 2023. 

Learn more

Do you or someone you know need help?

If you or someone you know is in acute need of psychiatric help, dial the SOS emergency number in Sweden, 112. In a non-emergency situation, you can call Sweden's national health hotline 1177 for information about illnesses and about where to find your nearest healthcare centre. For more information visit 

There is also a suicide prevention hotline providing support for those who have suicidal thoughts or have a loved one with such thoughts. You reach them at 90101 or chat or email.

Suicide prevention hotline providing ( (in Swedish)