In an opinion piece in Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter (DN), Suicide Zero compares efforts to tackle deaths from suicide with initiatives to reduce traffic fatalities.
Around 1,500 people take their own lives in Sweden every year compared to around 260 people dying in traffic accidents, according to Suicide Zero’s general secretary Alfred Skogberg and coordinator Lotta Ekdahl.
But suicide prevention research only receives around three million kronor ($368,700) in state finances each year, while traffic safety research receives between 100 and 150 million kronor ($12.2-18.4 million) from the state, they note.
“Today we know how to prevent suicide, both among those living with poor mental health for a long period time, and those who suddenly and urgently suffer. There is a great desire and knowledge among us who work with non-profit organizations to contribute to a positive social development. But if suicide prevention work is to be effective, it is necessary to have a plan and allocate resources in all municipalities as well as county councils nationally,” the duo writes.
In 2008 the Riksdag adopted a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to combat suicide. Suicide Zero wants new health minister Annika Strandhäll to play a more pivotal role in the work.
“Because the zero tolerance vision is the result of a parliamentary decision, there should be committed and responsible politicians,” Skogberg and Ekdahl argue.