Targeting depression and suicide in Europe: EU-funded “EAAD-Best” project has started

Frankfurt am Main/Leipzig 12.04.2021 - EAAD-Best project has been launched by the consortium of 10 project partners joining forces to improve depression treatment and suicide prevention by community based interventions.


EAAD-Best project

The EAAD-Best project funded within the Annual Work Programme 2020 of the 3rd EU Health Programme (HP-PJ-2020) began on 2nd April, 2021. It has the two overarching aims to improve care for patients with depression and to prevent suicidal behavior in Europe by:

  • transferring the community-based 4-level intervention concept of EAAD to new regions and countries in Europe and
  • promoting the international uptake of the iFightDepression®-tool, an internet-based self-management tool for patients with depression.

Both aims are particularly timely considering the exacerbation of mental health problems associated with the impacts of Covid-19. Additional objectives of EAAD-Best include reducing stigma, improving health literacy, and encouraging help-seeking behavior.


Targeting both depression and suicidal behaviour

EAAD-Best simultaneously targets depression and suicidal behaviour, two large and partly overlapping public health problems and disease burdens. According to the global burden of disease study1, depression is the leading cause for disability in developed countries. This results from the fat that depression is prevalent, e.g. life time prevalence of 13%2 and is associated with reduced life expectancy of ten years. In addition, depression is the most important cause for suicidal behavior. Around 800,000 completed suicides occur worldwide in each year and the number of attempted suicides is estimated to be about 20 times higher. Around 90 % of completed suicides occur in the context of psychiatric disorders, depression being by far the most significant one.


EAAD’s 4-level Intervention

The 4-level Intervention concept developed by the non-profit NGO “European Alliance against Depression” ( is a community based intervention involving cooperations and activities on the levels 1) primary care providers, 2) general public, 3) community facilitators and gate keepers (journalists, teacher, police, geriatric care givers, pharmacists) and 4) patients and their relatives (e.g. supporting self help)3,4. This 4-level intervention concept was named as a Best Practice intervention programme concerning suicide prevention in the WHO report4 and the European Commission’s Green Paper on Mental Health. It is promoted worldwide by the EAAD and has in the meanwhile been implemented in more than 120 regions in 15 countries in and outside of Europe.


EAAD-Best: Collaboration of 10 high-ranked organizations from 10 European countries

EAAD-Best is coordinated by the EAAD coordination center (Head: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hegerl) located in the Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy at the Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main. In so called “implementation countries” (Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Italy and Poland), EAAD’s 4-level intervention will be conducted for the first time in model regions and later transferred to additional regions. In “transfer countries” (Hungary, Ireland and Spain), the 4-level intervention concept has already been implemented in model regions. The aim is to transfer these interventions to new regions in the respective country. In concert, both implementation and transfer countries will promote and coordinate the nationwide implementation of the iFightDepression®-tool and awareness website.



  1. Murray 2020 : Lancet 396: 1204–22 (link)
  2. Kessler et al 2015: Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci. 24(3):210-26 (link)
  3. Hegerl et al 2019: PLoS One. 14(11):e0224602. doi: (link)
  4. Hegerl et al 2013: Neurosci Biobehav Rev 37:2404-9 (link)


Learn more about the EAAD-Best project, consortium partners, and related research:


Follow EAAD-Best on Twitter: @EAAD_Best


For further inquiries please contact: EAAD Coordination Centre

Ainslie O’Connor (Project Manager)

Tel: +49 (0) 152 371 60368



Dooyoung Kim (Project Manager)

Tel: +49 (0) 177 336 1646



Kahar Abula (International Coordinator)

Tel: +49 (0) 176 3719 3529



This project has received funding from the European Union’s 3rd Health Programme - Annual Work Programme 2020 (HP-PJ-2020) under grant agreement No. 101018325. The material presented and views expressed here are the responsibility of the author(s) only. The EU Commission takes no responsibility for any use made of the information set out.