Public Health Approach

According to World Health Organization (WHO, 2010; 2014), the public health approach has been a useful framework for continuing to investigate and understand the causes and consequences of a disease or a phenomenon, and also for preventing it from occurring through primary prevention programs, policy interventions and advocacy. Public health approach consists of four processes, namely (1) surveillance, (2) risk and protective factor identification, (3) prevention/intervention, and (4) implementation and evaluation.

Multi-sectors involvement:

A multi-sector effort is also required in order to tackle problems at various levels: in the community (universal strategies), subgroups with risk factors (selective strategies) and those at high risk (indicative strategies). See below for illustrations and examples of CSRP:

Illustration of the Public Health approach in Suicide Prevention

The ultimate goal of the public-health approach is to reduce the number of suicide cases and hoping this effect will resonate throughout the whole population. For example, implementing universal programme will shift the curve (see below) to the left, in turn reducing the number of individuals that are found under the high risk category. Simultaneously, it also makes the whole population less susceptible to suicide.

WHO 2010

In QTN, public health approach is adopted to classify different levels of programmes/interventions for different target population. All students can be benefited from a universal programme on emotional management and interpersonal relationship while a group of selected students with low self-esteem will be benefited from the selective programme that assists them to recognize their own character strengths.


World Health Organization (2010). Towards evidence-based suicide prevention programs. Western Pacific Region.

World Health Organization (2014). The public health approach. Retrieved on April 11, 2014.