Denmark has a national plan for suicide prevention

Health minister Sofie Løhde recently announced that the government has passed a bill for a national action plan for suicide prevention. The plan is part of the larger 10-year plan for psychiatric care.

The agreement, which can be downloaded below, contains recommendations related to following focus areas:

  1) Better treatment and support for people at risk of suicide.

  2) Destigmatization of suicide thoughts and behaviours.

  3) More support for bereaved by of suicide and relatives affected by suicide attempts.

  4) Children and young people should be protected from self-harm and suicide-related content on the internet.

  5) Enhanced efforts of means restrictions.

  6) More research on suicide prevention and monitoring of the efforts in national plan.

The government has allocated 48.8 million DKK to the national suicide preventive initiatives this year and 65 million DKK annually from 2025. The full agreement regarding the funds allocated to national efforts can be found in Danish on this link:

DRISP is thrilled about the action plan. We have for numerous years argued that suicide preventive efforts need to be guided by a national plan. This is a prerequisite for setting priorities and reaching identified goals.

Download the entire national action plan in Danish here:

Transgender individuals and suicide attempt and mortality in Denmark

Previous studies have suggested that transgender individuals may constitute a high-risk group in terms of suicide attempts and suicide, but the existing knowledge was primarily based on surveys. Large, population-based studies were lacking.

DRISP conducted an analysis of suicide attempts and mortality among transgender individuals in Denmark. The study aimed to investigate whether transgender individuals in Denmark have higher rates of suicide attempts and mortality compared to non-transgender individuals.

The study was nationwide and based on registry data, and it included over 6.6 million individuals born in Denmark, aged 15 or older, and residing in the country at some point between January 1, 1980, and December 31, 2021. Transgender identity was determined through national hospital records and administrative records of legal gender change. The results showed that transgender individuals had significantly higher rates of suicide attempts, suicides, non-suicidal deaths, and overall mortality compared to non-transgender individuals.

The results indicated that despite decreasing suicide attempt and suicide rates over the 42 years examined, the adjusted rates remained significantly elevated in the recent periods up to and including 2021 for all the categories studied. Transgender individuals had a 3.5 times higher risk of suicide and a 7.7 times higher risk of suicide attempts than the general population.

The study emphasizes the need for attention to the specific challenges faced by transgender individuals and the implementation of measures to reduce suicide attempts and improve their overall health and well-being.

The head of program at the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention (DRISP), Annette Erlangsen, stated: “We knew from foreign studies that transgender individuals have an increased risk of suicidal behavior, so it is good to be able to put precise numbers on the relationship. Transgender individuals who have suicidal thoughts may be less likely to seek help from existing psychiatric services because they do not want it to be documented in their patient records, possibly hindering access to later treatment. Danes see ourselves as pioneers in the LGBT+ field, and we have suicide prevention treatments that work, but we lack solutions to this problem.”

Morten Frisch, a senior physician at Statens Serum Institut and the head of the population study Project SEXUS, adds: “Our new study stands out as the world’s first nationally comprehensive study on the suicidal behavior and mortality of transgender individuals. Hopefully, the clear results of the study will help focus attention on the challenges in life that significantly increase the risk of suicide attempts and death among transgender individuals. It is an unmistakable and concerning sign of distress among Danish transgender individuals when this group has an almost eight times higher prevalence of suicide attempts than other Danes.”

Susanne Branner Jespersen, the secretariat manager at LGBT+ Denmark, states: “These are very alarming figures, which unfortunately we were already too familiar with. The numbers indicate that there is a long way to go before we destigmatize what it means to be transgender and create better conditions for them throughout their lives. We all have a great responsibility for this, and the current public debate about what it means to be transgender does not always promote understanding.”

The study was published in the prestigious journal: JAMA Network.

You can find the study and read more here:

The project was conducted in partnership with prof Morten Frisch from the Serum Institute and LGBT+ Denmark.

The project in other media:

DRISP is launching the FORSAM Database

FORSAM stands for “Prevention of Suicidal Actions through Monitoring.” FORSAM is an online monitoring portal for suicide prevention, which has recently been developed by DRISP. The website presents data on suicides and suicide attempts for various risk groups. The latest available data is available at the municipality, healthcare cluster, regional, and national levels.

The idea behind FORSAM is to create an easily accessible monitoring portal where stakeholders in suicide prevention can easily find information, for instance to questions, such as:

  • What is the profile in terms of gender, age, marital status, household conditions, socioeconomic status, education, mental illnesses, chronic illnesses of individuals who die by suicide in a specific municipality?
  • What is the suicide rate among individuals with mental illnesses?
  • How many of the individuals who die by suicide in the catchment area of a specific hospital have received psychiatric treatment within the last 6 months?

You can find FORSAM here.

FORSAM distinguishes itself from existing databases by including: 1) breakdowns by risk groups (e.g., individuals with mental illnesses, chronic physical illnesses, unemployed individuals, divorced individuals, widows/widowers, disability pensioners, substance abusers, vulnerable youth, recent stressful events); 2) recorded contacts to the healthcare system, and 3) numbers on family members who are survivors of suicide and relatives who are affected by suicide attempts.

FORSAM aims to make data quickly and easily accessible to the many different stakeholders working in suicide prevention, providing them with up-to-date validated data.

FORSAM is operated by DRISP in collaboration with partners from municipalities (including Rødovre Municipality), the Local Government Denmark, Danish Regions, the leaders of the Suicide Prevention Clinics, and Livslinien.

The 2023 Nordentoftprize is awarded to Arnârak Patricia Bloch

The Nordentoft Prize 2023 is awarded to Arnârak Patricia Bloch for her tireless work in recent years in educating and informing healthcare professionals about suicide prevention in Greenland. The award will be presented at the National Network Day for Suicide Preventive Clinicians in Denmark on November 2, 2023.

Suicide is a significant problem in Greenland, although it is underprioritized from a political standpoint in Denmark. Arnârak Patricia Bloch was nominated for the Nordentoft Prize by Livslinien because she, over the past four years, has played a central role in spreading knowledge on suicide prevention among healthcare professionals in Greenland. Approximately 500 professionals have been trained to engage professionally and provide support to individuals with suicidal thoughts and their families—and this training has been delivered in the Greenlandic language. The fact that someone familiar with Greenlandic culture is conducting this training ensures better communication. Cultural understanding is crucial when addressing sensitive subjects, such as suicide. Arnârak and her colleagues have skillfully incorporated knowledge from outside and use it to benefit Greenland. We are honored to support a Greenlandic initiative aimed at preventing suicide.

On behalf of the prize committee,

Annette Erlangsen Elene Fleischer Jan-Henrik Winsløv

News about this years award can be found here

About the Nordentoft Prize:
The Nordentoft Prize was established by the Association for Education and Research in Suicide Prevention (“FUFS”) to honor the significant efforts of Professor Merete Nordentoft in the area of suicide prevention. The purpose of the prize is to raise awareness about suicide prevention on a broader level.

The prize is presented at the annual network meeting for Suicide Preventive Clinics on November 2, 2023, in Aalborg.

Previous Prize Recipients:
2013: Elene Fleischer

2014: Annette Erlangsen

2015: Lone Fogholm

2016: Erik Christiansen

2017: Jan-Henrik Winsløv

2018: Niels Buus

2019: Livslinien

2020: Trine Madsen

2021: Kate Aamund

2022: Charlotte Mühlmann

2023: Arnârak Patricia Bloch

The 2023 Papageno Prize is awarded to composer and artist Frans Bak

The Papageno Prize of 2023 goes to composer Frans Bak for his unique concept for survivors of suicide: “Songs for My Mother – Songs of Grief and Love After Suicide.” The award will be presented in connection with World Suicide Prevention Day on September 8, 2023, in Hillerød.

Composer Frans Bak lost his mother to suicide when he was 18 years old. Forty years later, the song “Lys nu, min engel” (Light Now, My Angel) came to him – a song dedicated to and about his mother. More songs followed. Frans organized a concert with his old friend and psychologist, Ane Christensen and others. They were deeply moved by the songs and the sense of community that emerged during the concert. After the concert, Ane encouraged Frans to share the songs through performances for suicide survivors. This was the birth of the idea: a singing and talking concert for suicide survivors.

Since then, Frans and Ane Christensen have toured the country, visiting living rooms, community centers, activity centers, churches, and more, to meet with groups of 5 to 50 people. These concerts serve as both a musical experience and a spiritual evening, given that singing can be easier than discussing when it comes to complex emotions. The concerts are unconventional and touching. They provide a beautiful, therapeutic, and meaningful experience, while also informing about help and treatment options in an educational and responsible manner.

About the Papageno Prize: This marks the 17th time the award has been presented in Denmark. It is given to media professionals who have ethically and informatively shed light on the issue of suicide for the public through their work.

The prize is named after the bird-catcher Papageno from Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute.” Papageno contemplates suicide when he believes he has lost the love of his life, Papagena. However, three spirits intervene and remind him of reasons for living. The “Papageno effect” has become a term in research and denotes on how the media coverage might encourage those with suicide thoughts to seek help. Media coverage should ideally provide hope to those who might be contemplating suicide and inform them on where they can seek help as well as what to do if a loved one has suicide thoughts.

The purpose of the Papageno Prize is to:

  • Prevent through information
  • Avoid tabooing
  • Consider and protect survivors
  • Inform about the possibility of help and treatment for those contemplating suicide and survivors.

The guidelines for awarding the prize align with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), which can be found at under the press room section.

Previous recepients
· 2022: The band LISS and journalist Sigurd Hartkorn Plaetner
· 2021: Podcast-host Pernille Strøm Øster and Jeppe Vester, Landsforeningen Liv&Død
· 2020: Elene Fleischer and Liselotte Horneman Krag, NEFOS
· 2019: Journalist Jonas Bisgaard Kristensen, JydskeVestkysten
· 2018: Journalist Jonas Damstrup Fried, DR
· 2017: Journalists Else Marie Nygaard and Maja Funch, Kristeligt Dagblad
· 2016: Nurse and Author Jorit Tellervo
· 2015: Journalist Sine Skott Andersen, TV2 Fyn
· 2014: Sportsjournalist Dan Philipsen, Jyllands-Posten
· 2013: Director and actress Lotte Andersen, documentary
· 2012: DRs youth program TVÆRS on P3
· 2011: Psychologist Birgitte Andersen and photographer Torben Åndahl
· 2009: Psychologist Bente Hjorth Madsen, hjemmeside
· 2008: Cecilie Elmose Warnich og Cecilia Sejer, DR
· 2007: Journalist Tommy Byrne, Fyens Stiftstidende
· 2006: Editor Thorkild Nyholm, DR 2005: Journalist Inger Anneberg, a4media

Behind the intiative is a workgroup consisting of: Merete Nordentoft, Foreningen for Uddannelse og Forskning i Selvmordsadfærd, Annemarie Knigge, Landsforeningen for efterladte efter selvmord, Kir Klysner, Dansk Journalistforbund og Christina Petrea Larsen, Center for Selvmordsforskning.

The YRSA Project – suicide attempt in youth

The rate of suicide attempt in adolescents has been increasing for the last decades, especially in young girls. Suicide attempt is the best-established risk factor for subsequent death by suicide, therefore this increasing trend is alarming. Reportedly, only up to 9% of those adolescents who attempt suicide are seen at somatic hospitals, implying that up to 90% of all teenagers in a crisis situation with a suicide attempt may have not received professional help for their suicidal behavior. The YRSA project aims to document prevalences and early risk factors for suicide ideation and -attempt in both those seen at somatic hospitals for suicide attempt and in those who self-reported suicide attempt but do not seek somatic treatment. Further, the aim is to examine barriers and facilitators of seeking help from mental health services after a suicide attempt. The YRSA project, which combines self-reported data from the Danish National Birth Cohort with register-based data, are unique for this purpose.

Drisp: Trine Madsen

The YAM project will be conducted in Danish schools.

DRISP and The Research Unit in the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Center have received a grant from The Novo Nordisk Foundation to test the school initiative Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) in Danish schools.

The project is a cross-sectoral collaboration between the Social and Healthcare Sectors to investigate whether insight and knowledge about mental health vulnerability and self-harm can be prevented among students in 9th grade in Danish schools.

The YAM intervention is a 5-week evidence-based program that encourages young people to learn about mental health well-being, encountering role play and discussions on topics related to their everyday mental health. The intervention is manual-based and will be facilitated by trained YAM Instructors.

Several schools have already expressed their interest in the project, which will be conducted as a cluster randomized feasibility study in 8-10 schools across the country. The aim is to investigate whether the intervention can be implemented in Danish schools on a larger scale.

We are looking very much forward to getting started.

Read more here


Drisp: Britt Morthorst