Evidence for suicide prevention strategies with populations in displacement: a systematic review

Emily E. Haroz, Ellie Decker, Catherine Lee, Paul Bolton, Paul Spiegel, Peter Ventevogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Little is known about effective strategies to reduce rates of suicide among refugees and other displaced populations. This review aims to synthesise and assess the evidence base for suicide prevention and response programmes in refugee settings. We conducted a systematic review from peer-reviewed literature databases (five databases) and grey literature sources of literature published prior to November 27, 2017. We identified eight records (six peer-reviewed articles and two grey literature reports) that met our inclusion criteria. None of the eight records provided conclusive evidence of effectiveness. Five records had an unclear level of evidence and three records were potentially promising or promising. Most of the studies reviewed utilised multiple synergistic strategies. The most rigorous study showed the effectiveness of Brief Intervention and Contact and Safety planning. There is limited evidence of the effectiveness of other suicide prevention strategies for these groups. Future studies should attempt to better understand the impact of suicide prevention strategies, and explicitly unpack the individual and synergistic effects of multiple-strategies on suicide-related outcomes. Evidence from this review supports the use of Brief Intervention and Contact type interventions, but more research is needed to replicate findings particularly among populations in displacement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Displaced populations
  • Refugee populations
  • Suicide prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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