Media guidelines for the responsible reporting of suicide are a recognized universal suicide prevention intervention. While implemented in numerous countries, including Australia, little is known about whether they are cost-effective. We aimed to determine the cost-effectiveness of Mindframe, the national initiative implementing media guidelines in Australia.
We conducted a modelled economic evaluation (5-year time-horizon) incorporating two types of economic analysis: (i) return-on-investment (ROI) comparing estimated cost savings from the intervention to the total intervention cost, and (ii) cost-effectiveness analysis comparing the net intervention costs to health outcomes: suicide deaths prevented and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). We also included uncertainty analyses to propagate parameter uncertainty and sensitivity analyses to test the robustness of the model outputs to changes in input parameters and assumptions.
The estimated ROI ratio for the main analysis was 94:1 (95% uncertainty interval [UI]: 37 to 170). The intervention was associated with cost savings of A$596M (95% UI: A$228M to A$1,081M), 139 (95% UI: 55 to 252) suicides prevented and 107 (95% UI: 42 to 192) QALYs gained. The intervention was dominant, or cost-saving, compared with no intervention with results being robust to sensitivity analysis but varying based on the conservativeness of the parameters entered.
Mindframe was found to be cost-saving, and therefore, worthy of investment and inclusion as part of national suicide prevention strategies.