The 4-level approach that has been implemented in different regions in 17 European countries comprising the following four levels:
1. Primary care and mental health care GPs and pediatricians will be invited to educational workshops on how to recognize and treat depression and explore suicidal tendency in the primary care setting. Information materials (e.g. video tapes) will be distributed to GPs who can hand them out to their patients.
2. General public: Depression awareness campaign The broad public will be addressed by large-scale public awareness campaigns including posters, cinema spots, information leaflets, brochures, public events and web presence. The aim is to improve knowledge about adequate treatments of depression in general and to reduce the stigmatization of the topic “depression” and the affected individuals.
3. Patients, high-risk groups and relatives ”Emergency Cards” will be handed out to high risk groups (first of all young people in adolescent crisis and persons after suicide attempt) guaranteeing direct access to professional help in a suicidal crisis. Initiatives will be started to found regional self-help groups and support them with expert advice. Partnerships with patient associations will be established and intensified.
4. Community facilitators and stakeholders Educational workshops will be held to various target groups playing an important role in disseminating knowledge about depressive disorders (e.g. health care professionals, priests, counselors, police). Particular emphasis can be put, e.g. on special offers for parents, youth workers and teachers in order to reach children and adolescents suffering from depression, deliberate self harm and suicidal behaviour (e.g. information sessions and prevention programs in schools). A close co-operation with the media is crucial to trigger the public discussion. Special guidelines on media coverage of suicidal tendency will be distributed to prevent copycat suicides.
If you are interested in starting a regional alliance and implement this 4-level approach please contact the coordination centre.