In December 2015, the National Suicide Research Foundation was initially designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a WHO Collaborating Centre (WHOCC) for Surveillance and Research in Suicide Prevention. Following a rigorous evaluation process in 2019, the re-designation was approved for a further four years.
The NSRF is the fourth such research centre in the world recognised by the WHO as a centre of excellence in suicide research and prevention.
What does a WHO Collaborating Centre do?
A Work Plan has been agreed between the NSRF and the WHO. The remit of WHO Collaborating centres is to conduct research and evaluation, and provide technical guidance to the WHO. The aim is to enhance countries’ capacity to develop and implement national policies and plans in line with the 2013–2020 global mental health action plan.
- Development and implementation of surveillance systems of suicide and suicide attempts
- Implementation and evaluation of national suicide prevention programmes
- Training and education in suicide and suicide attempt surveillance, research and prevention
- Increasing awareness of suicide prevention among governments, stakeholders and the general public
- Providing advice and sharing resources in suicide research and prevention with countries globally.
In 2015, the NSRF worked intensively with the WHO on a Practice Manual for establishing surveillance systems for suicide attempts and self-harm. This resulted in a first collaborative publication with the WHO in June 2016: World Health Organization (2016). Practice Manual for Establishing and Maintaining Surveillance Systems for Suicide Attempts and Self-harm. Geneva, WHO.
In 2018 and 2019, NSRF, in collaboration with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the WHO, produced the Suicide Research and Prevention E-Learning Programme, based on the WHO Practice Manual. The work involved preparing different modules, including a training module with additional test vignettes. The E-Learning Programme launched in early 2019 and now facilitates training and capacity building in places where face-to-face training can be challenging.
In addition, NSRF staff members who are involved with the WHOCC, provide technical support to other countries who wish to establish and maintain surveillance systems for suicide attempts and self-harm. The NSRF is currently working with colleagues in Poland, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.