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OBJECTIVE: Some countries have implemented systems to monitor suicides in real-time. These systems differ because of the various ways in which suicides are identified and recorded. The main objective of this study was to conduct an international comparison of major real-time suicide mortality surveillance systems to identify joint strengths, challenges, and differences, and thereby inform best-practice criteria at local, national, and international levels. METHODS: Five major real-time suicide mortality surveillance systems of various coverage levels were identified and selected for review via an internet-based scoping exercise and prior knowledge of existing systems. Key information including the system components and practices was collated from those organizations that developed and operate each system using a structured template. The information was narratively and critically synthesized to determine similarities and differences between the systems. RESULTS: The comparative review of the five established real-time suicide surveillance systems revealed more commonalities than differences overall. Commonalities included rapid, routine surveillance based on minimal, provisional data to facilitate timely intervention and postvention efforts. Identified differences include the timeliness of case submission and system infrastructure. CONCLUSION: The recommended criteria could promote replicable components and practices in real-time suicide surveillance while offering flexibility in adapting to regional/local circumstances and resource availability.HIGHLIGHTSEvidence-informed recommendations for current best practice in real-time suicide surveillance.Proposed comprehensive framework can be adapted based on available resources and capacity.Real-time suicide mortality data facilitates rapid data-driven decision-making in suicide prevention.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch Suicide Res

Publication Date



1 - 27


Data, prevention, real-time, suicide, surveillance