Public Health Law Strategies for Suicide Prevention Using the Socioecological Model

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 47 (S2):31-35 (2019)
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Abstract

Suicide is a public health problem which will require an integrated cross-sector approach to help reduce prevalence rates. One strategy is to include the legal system in a more integrated way with suicide prevention efforts. Caine explored a public health approach to suicide prevention, depicting risk factors across the socio-ecological model. The purpose of this paper is to examine laws that impact suicide prevention at the individual, relational, community, and societal levels. These levels are fluid, and some interventions will fall between two, such as a community-level approach to training that enhances provider-patient relationships. At the individual level, we will review laws to improve screening requirements across systems. At the relational level, we note interventions with couples having conflict, such as protection orders and access to attorney consultations, which have been known to be injury prevention mechanisms. At the community level, we discuss legislation that recommends suicide prevention efforts for key individuals working as frontline providers in the medical and educational systems. At the societal level, we explore public awareness campaigns that target stigma reduction for those suffering from mental health burden and enhance linkage to care. The article closes with the discussion that laws are good, but their implementation is essential.

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