International Association for Suicide Prevention

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International Association for Suicide Prevention
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WebsiteIASP Official website

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) is an international suicide prevention organization dedicated to preventing suicide and suicidal behaviour and to alleviating its effects. IASP leads the global role in suicide prevention by strategically developing an effective forum that is proactive in creating strong collaborative partnerships and promoting evidence-based action in order to reduce the incidence of suicide.[1] The organisation is guided by a constitution and a 5-year strategy.[2] Founded by Erwin Ringel and Norman Farberow in 1960, IASP provides a forum for mental health professionals, crisis workers, suicide survivors and all those affected by suicide and suicidal behaviour. As a membership-based organisation, IASP’s reach currently extends to about eighty countries worldwide.[1]

World Suicide Prevention Day[edit]

World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) was established by IASP in 2003 in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is a significant advocacy and communication-based event aimed at reaching national organisations, governments, and the public, giving a singular message that suicide can be prevented. The first World Suicide Prevention Day was successfully launched in Stockholm on 10 September 2003, designating the day as a way of focusing attention on the problem world-wide with the message: “Suicides are Preventable”.[3]

WSPD continues to grow year on year, with recent years seeing the day observed in more than sixty countries with hundreds of events ranging from educational and commemorative events to press briefings and public conferences. The internet and social media coverage has ensured millions of people around the world are linked to this day. The current theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is “Creating Hope through Action”.[4] The theme aims to encourage understanding around the issue, to inspire confidence in individuals to reach in to support those who are struggling, and to share our experiences, as part of action to prevent suicide.[4]

A notable WSPD campaign includes Cycle Around the Globe, which is a free virtual cycling event held from 10 September – 10 October every year to raise awareness of suicide prevention worldwide.[5] In 2022, the campaign saw the participation of over 2,000 participants cycling 297,852 KM to raise awareness for suicide prevention in over forty-seven countries.[2]

IASP Congresses[edit]

IASP holds world congresses every two years. Previous congresses have been held in Canada, Norway, China, India, South Africa, France, US, Austria, etc. The 32nd World Congress of IASP is scheduled to be held from 19-23 September 2023 in Piran, Slovenia.[6]

Special Interest Groups[edit]

IASP Special Interest Groups offer the opportunity for its community of members, researchers, professionals, general people, and volunteers to focus deeply on a specific aspect of suicide and suicide prevention.[7] Currently, there are 17 Special Interest Groups (SIGs) with a focus on the following topics:

  • Clusters and Contagion in Suicidal Behaviour
  • Culture and Suicidal Behaviour
  • Development of Effective National Suicide Prevention Strategy and Practice
  • Genetics and Neurobiology of Suicide
  • Helplines Best Practices
  • Lived Experience
  • Nomenclature
  • Prevention of Intentional Pesticide Poisoning
  • Risk, Resilience and Reasons for Living
  • Suicide Among Older Adults
  • Suicide Bereavement and Postvention
  • Suicide and the Media
  • Suicide and Self-Harm in Middle-Aged Adults
  • Suicide Prevention for Boys and Men
  • Suicide Prevention in Primary Care
  • Suicide and the Workplace

Decriminalisation of Suicide[edit]

IASP supports the decriminalisation of suicide and suicidal behaviour so as not to penalise those who attempt suicide or the families who lose someone through suicide.[8] Suicide remains illegal in at least twenty countries worldwide and attempted suicide is punishable under Sharia law in a further twenty countries.[9] A fundamental part of IASP's global policy and advocacy work aims to strengthen the forum of expertise who can provide a range of support in the development of global policies and national strategies.


Crisis, the Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, has been published since 1980 under the auspices of the International Association for Suicide Prevention.[10] Crisis publishes original articles on suicidology and crisis intervention. With six issues a year, Crisis presents compelling editorials, high quality research, and practical information from the field.

Find a Helpline[edit]

If someone is experiencing a suicidal crisis, have suicidal thoughts, or need support after a suicide attempt, they can search for a helpline through 'Find a Helpline' and contact them to receive support.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Who we are". IASP. Retrieved 2023-06-05.
  2. ^ a b "Governance & Reports". IASP. Retrieved 2023-06-05.
  3. ^ "About World Suicide Prevention Day". IASP. Retrieved 2023-06-05.
  4. ^ a b "Resources - IASP WSPD Resources, Brief, Banners, Light a Candle". IASP. Retrieved 2023-06-05.
  5. ^ "Cycle Around the Globe". IASP. Retrieved 2023-06-05.
  6. ^ "Piran 2023". IASP. Retrieved 2023-06-05.
  7. ^ "Special Interest Groups". IASP. Retrieved 2023-06-05.
  8. ^ "The Decriminalisation of Suicidal Behaviour". IASP. Retrieved 2023-06-05.
  9. ^ Mishara, Brian L.; Weisstub, David N. (2016). "The legal status of suicide: A global review". International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. 44: 54–74. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2015.08.032. ISSN 1873-6386. PMID 26375452.
  10. ^ "Crisis Journal". IASP. Retrieved 2023-06-05.
  11. ^ "Find A Helpline | Free emotional support in 130+ countries". Retrieved 2023-06-05.

External links[edit]