Mental health

Reducing access to means of suicide

Question 7: Is reducing access to means of suicide effective in reducing deaths from suicide, suicide attempts and acts of self-harm at the population level?

Management of self harm and suicide

  • Population: national population / population in an area implementing the specific prevention strategy, affected by a particular firearms law, or surrounding a particular suicide site.
  • Interventions:
    • education on the dangers of pesticide ingestions; provision of lockable storage boxes for pesticides; reductions in the use of the most highly toxic pesticides; and use of alternative (natural) managements of land cultivation
    • restrictions on firearms acquisition, waiting periods for firearms acquisition, firearms registrations, licensing and background checks of firearms licensees and owners, safer storage of firearms
    • restricting access to sites, installation of barriers or safety nets, surveillance measures, muted media reporting, installation of signs and telephone help offers.
  • Comparison: care as usual
  • Outcomes: reduction in numbers (or rates) of suicidal behaviours by ingestion of pesticides, using firearms, jumping or all suicides.


At the population level, restricting access to means of self-harm (such as pesticides, firearms, high places) is recommended.
Strength of recommendation: STRONG

Collaboration between health and other relevant sectors should be established and the community should be involved actively to find locally feasible ways to implement interventions at the population level to reduce access to means of suicide to decrease deaths from suicide, suicide attempts and acts of self-harm.
Strength of recommendation: STRONG

Evidence profile