Interventions to reduce suicides at suicide hotspots: A systematic review

Georgina R. Cox, Christabel Owens, Jo Robinson, Angela Nicholas, Anne Lockley, Michelle Williamson, Yee Tak Derek Cheung, Jane Pirkis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Background: 'Suicide hotspots' include tall structures (for example, bridges and cliffs), railway tracks, and isolated locations (for example, rural car parks) which offer direct means for suicide or seclusion that prevents intervention. Methods. We searched Medline for studies that could inform the following question: 'What interventions are available to reduce suicides at hotspots, and are they effective?'. Results: There are four main approaches: (a) restricting access to means (through installation of physical barriers); (b) encouraging help-seeking (by placement of signs and telephones); (c) increasing the likelihood of intervention by a third party (through surveillance and staff training); and (d) encouraging responsible media reporting of suicide (through guidelines for journalists). There is relatively strong evidence that reducing access to means can avert suicides at hotspots without substitution effects. The evidence is weaker for the other approaches, although they show promise. Conclusions: More well-designed intervention studies are needed to strengthen this evidence base.

Original languageEnglish
Article number214
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Intervention
  • Suicide hotspots
  • Suicide prevention

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