Preventing Suicide in the Arctic (RISING SUN)

In October, the ‘Reducing the Incidence of Suicide in Indigenous Groups – Strengths United through Networks’ (RISING SUN) initiative led by the NIMH Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health and the Arctic Council published a technical paper highlighting their findings on prioritized outcomes for suicide prevention initiatives in the Arctic. 

The prevalence of suicide in Arctic communities, particularly among young people has been seen as a growing crisis. Exceeding national averages, these high rates appear to be a fairly recent trend following many generations of cultural upheaval including rapid modernization, assimilation and externally imposed changes to conventional ways of life in the Circumpolar North. 

While the region has seen many successful suicide prevention interventions, challenges remain in conducting and evaluating the development and implementation of these initiatives to mine best-practices for replication and dissemination. 

Research on suicide prevention within the Arctic has so far been bound by geographical challenges, contextual limitations and the lack of culturally appropriate tools. That being said, it is heartening to see examples of successful and promising practices around suicide prevention in the region being led in the community by youth advocates. 

The paper also summarises the Delphi process used to establish a set of prioritized outcomes for suicide prevention interventions. The RISING SUN initiative held a series of workshops and brought together youth leaders, researchers and clinicians through a scientific advisory group to come to consensus on the identified priorities. These findings have since been built into the RISING SUN Toolkit that aims to facilitate knowledge exchange and provide resources for the specified priorities for targeted groups of beneficiaries.

One of the main goals for sharing these community-based, prioritized outcomes and measures is to facilitate collaborative research through the use of common outcome measures and data pooling. Such research can help to identify evidence-based best practices in Arctic communities. The authors of this technical paper conclude by emphasising the need for collaboration to help mobilize resources and strong policy action in order to achieve the prioritized outcomes identified for suicide prevention.

“Sustainable benefits will require collective long-term action to reduce the disproportionate burden of suicide in the Arctic1

Supplementary Links:

  1. Collins P et al (2018) "RISING SUN: prioritized outcomes for suicide prevention in the Arctic." Psychiatric services. 
  2. RISING SUN Toolkit and guidance for use
  3. Reducing the Incidence of Suicide in Indigenous Groups – Strengths United through Networks (RISING SUN) (Innovation
  4. Promising Practices in the Arctic (Blog)
  5. Suicide Prevention in the Arctic (Podcast) by Roberto Delgado

Photo Credit : © Allison Crawford, 2018
North America
Children and adolescents
Minority populations
Primary care
Empowerment and service user involvement
Task sharing
Prevention and promotion
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