Evaluation of suicide prevention activities

7.9 Approaches which may be harmful

Page last updated: January 2014

The peer-reviewed literature points to some interventions which may potentially be harmful.73 It has been suggested that the following approaches be avoided until there is clear evidence that their use is both beneficial and without risk. These include:

  • School-based programs that focus on raising awareness about suicide
  • Public health messages about suicide (due to a fear of normalising suicide)
  • 'No-harm' or 'no-suicide' contracts in mental health settings
  • Recovered or repressed memory therapies.

Findings in relation to NSPP-funded activities

While several NSPP-funded projects are based in schools, these appear in most instances to focus on competency development and skill enhancement rather than awareness-raising alone. This approach has some support from the literature. Please note that MindMatters, which is a large-scale school-based intervention, is discussed in detail in Section 11.4.

Based on the available information, no projects appear to be advocating 'no-harm' or 'no-suicide' contracts, or recovered or repressed memory therapies.

Key findings

None of the NSPP-funded projects reported use of activities or approaches that were identified in the peer-reviewed literature as potentially harmful.

73 Beautrais et al, 'Effective Strategies for Suicide Prevention in New Zealand'.