Optimising suicide prevention programmes and their implementation in Europe

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Contract/Grant agreement number
: 223138
EC contribution
: € 2,991,727.00
: 48 months
Starting date
: 01/10/2008
: suicide prevention, depression, community based interventions, multi-level interventions, evaluation.
Project web-site
: http://www.eaad.net/mainmenu/research/ospi/


Suicide is a serious public health problem in EU countries calling for effective interventions. According to WHO data, suicide is among the 16 leading causes of death for all ages (World Health Organization, 2004). It is estimated that 90% of suicides occur within a psychiatric disorder (Mann et al., 2005). The most important disorder in this context is major depression, but also other affective disorders, alcoholism and other addictions, and schizophrenia are frequently underlying suicidal behaviour (Bertolote, Fleischmann, de Leo, & Wasserman, 2004).

Because of the multi-factored causes of suicidality, interventions that address the problem on multiple levels by a multifaceted programme are considered to be most effective. There are numerous suicide prevention activities which have been implemented worldwide on regional or national levels; however strong empirical evidence is lacking for all of the single measures (education and awareness programs, improved treatment of psychiatric disorders, media guidelines for suicide reporting, screening high risk populations, and restriction of access to lethal means (Althaus & Hegerl, 2003).

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