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Online ISSN: 1099-176X    Print ISSN: 1091-4358
The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics
Volume 18, Issue 3, 2015. Pages: 147-155
Published Online: 1 September 2015

Copyright © 2015 ICMPE.


 

Implementing Suicide Prevention Programs: Costs and Potential Life Years Saved in Canada

Helen-MariaVasiliadis,1* Alain Lesage,2 Eric Latimer,3 Monique Seguin4

1MSc, PhD, Associate Professor, Université de Sherbrooke, Centre de Recherche Hôpital Charles LeMoyne; Longueuil, Qc, Canada
2M.D., MPH, Professor, Université de Montréal, Institut Universitaire de Santé Mentale Montréal, Montréal, Qc, Canada
3PhD, Professor, McGill University, Douglas Mental Health University Institute; Verdun, Qc, Canada
4PhD, Professor, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Gatineau, Qc and McGill University, Douglas Mental Health University Institute; Verdun, Qv, Canada

* Correspondence to: Helen-Maria Vasiliadis, Centre de recherche - Hôpital Charles-Le Moyne Campus de Longueuil - Université de Sherbrooke, 150 Place Charles LeMoyne - Bureau 200 Longueuil (QC) J4K 0A8, Canada
E-mail: helen-maria.vasiliadis@usherbrooke.ca

Source of Funding: This study was supported by a grant from the Quebec Health Research Fund (Fonds de Recherche du Québec-Santé (FRQ-S)) (2009-2013) #16162. The corresponding author is also supported as a Senior research scientist by the FRQ-S.

Abstract

Little is known about the costs and effects of suicide prevention programs at the population level. We therefore aimed to determine the cost-effectiveness of implementing the European Nuremberg Alliance against Depression (NAD) trial, a multimodal community-based suicide prevention strategy, in a Canadian province. The prospective value implementation study design showed an annual total cost, of implementing the suicide prevention programs, reaching $23 982 293 and, an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio reaching on average $3979 per life year saved. The results showed that suicide prevention programs can result in important potential cost-savings due to averted suicide deaths and decreased disability due to depression for society.

 

Background: Little is known about the costs and effects of suicide prevention programs at the population level.

Aims of the Study: We aimed to determine (i) the costs associated with a suicide death and using prospective values (ii) the costs and effects of transferring, into a Canadian context, the results of the European Nuremberg Alliance against Depression (NAD) trial with the addition of 4 community-based suicide prevention strategies. These included the training of family physicians in the detection and treatment of depression, population campaigns aimed at increasing awareness about depression, the training of community leaders among first responders and follow-up of individuals who attempted suicide.

Methods: This study includes a prospective value implementation study design. Using published data and information from interviews with Canadian decision makers, we assessed the costs of a suicide death in the province of Quebec and the costs of potentially implementing the NAD multi-modal suicide prevention programs, and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER), from a health care system and societal perspective, associated with the NAD program while considering the friction cost method (FCM) and human capital approach (HCA) (discounted at 3%.) The costs considered included those incurred for the suicide prevention program and direct medical and non-medical costs as well as those related to a police investigation and funeral costs. Indirect costs associated with loss of productivity and short term disability were also considered. Sensitivity analyses were also carried out. Costs presented were in 2010 dollars.

Results: The annual total cost of implementing the suicide prevention programs in Quebec reached $23,982,293. The most expensive components of the program included the follow-up of individuals who had attempted suicide and psychotherapy for bereaved individuals. These accounted for 39% and 34% of total costs. The ICER associated with the implementation of the programs reached on average $3979 per life year saved.

Discussion: Suicide prevention programs such as the NAD trial are cost-effective and can result in important potential cost-savings due to averted suicide deaths and reduced life years lost.

Implications for Health Care Provision and Use: Implementation of suicide prevention programs at the population level in Canada is cost-effective. Community mental health programs aimed at increasing awareness and the treatment of depression and better follow-up of high risk individuals for suicide are associated with a minimal per capita investment. These programs can result in important potential cost-savings due to averted suicide deaths and decreased disability due to depression.

Implications for Further Research: Additional research should focus on whether the outcomes of multi-modal suicide programs are specific or synergistic and most effective for which population subgroups. This may help inform how best to invest resources for the highest return.

Received 4 September 2014; accepted 24 June 2015

Copyright 2015 ICMPE