VLESP developed Silver, a serious game which aims at improving mental health in young people (12-16 years old). In this way Silver contributes to the universal prevention of suicide in this target group. The effect of Silver was studied by VLESP using a randomised controlled trial in which more than 1000 young people participated. The study showed that, after playing the game, participants improved at understanding their emotions and experienced less cognitive errors.
Silver can be freely downloaded in the Belgian app stores. To implement the game in schools, an educational package and training for teachers are provided. Read more on silvergame.beInformation sheet Silver (in Dutch)
Suicide prevention in the elderly. Clinical practice guidelines for caregivers en health professionals
VLESP developed guidelines to support caregivers and health professionals in the detection, treatment and follow-up of suicidal behavior in elderly people. These guidelines are addition to the general guidelines for the detection and treatment of suicidal behavior that were published in 2017. They are available in print and as an e-learning.Guideline suicide prevention in the elderly (in Dutch)
The Unit for Suicide Research is conducting the “Insight-study” to gain more information on suicide in 45 – 60 year olds. For this study, they are looking for people who are bereaved by suicide or who know someone in their environment struggling with mental health problems. The results are expected at the end of 2020.
Psycho-educational session on suicide prevention for the lay public
VLESP investigated the effect of a psycho-educational session for the general public. Results showed that the knowledge and attitudes of participants improved significantly after the psycho-educational session. Moreover, a significant decrease in hopelessness and in negative affect was found when comparing pre- and post-session measures. As the outcome of the study showed positive results, these trainings will now be implemented in Flanders. Click here for more information.
Help! My child thinks about suicide
VLESP contributed to the development and evaluation of the website 'Help! My child thinks about suicide'. This website supports and informs parents of suicidal children and adolescents. The evaluation study showed that the website is perceived as a supporting tool by parents and improved their knowledge and skills on how to deal with this situation.
Evaluation report 'Help! My child thinks about suicide
In 2017 VLESP, Te Gek!? and VVGG launched the public awareness campaign 4voor12. With this campaign we tried to highten the awareness for warning signs that show that someone could have psychological problems and to give persons tools to talk about it.
More information on the campaign is found on www.4voor12.be (in Dutch).Report 4voor12 (in Dutch)
Continuity of care for suicidal persons
In 2018 VLESP developed a guideline with recommendations and tools to improve the the continuïty of care for suicidal persons. Central themes are the collaboration and information exchange between healthcare professionals and follow-up care for suicidal patients.Guideline continuity of care (in Dutch)
With the ‘PROSPECT’ study, VLESP investigated two new treatments for people who consider suicide: a cognitive training based on mindfulness (MBCT-S) and a training that focuses on future oriented thinking and setting goals (Future oriented training).
Both trainings appeared to be effective in helping to control suicidal thoughts.Therapists who want to offer these trainings, can apply for a training course (in Dutch).
Think Life is an online self-help course for coping with suicidal thoughts. The course consists of six steps that can be completed independently and at the participants’ own pace. Every step has its own theme, and different theories and exercises are presented, based on recognized psychotherapeutic techniques.
VLESP investigated the effectiveness of Think Life. This study shows that after following the course ànd three months later, individuals have significantly fewer suicidal thoughts, a significant decrease in depressive symptoms, hopelessness, worrying and anxiety.
For more information about Think Life please visit www.zelfmoord1813.be/thinklife (in Dutch).Publication Think Life
Guideline for the detection and treatment of suicidal behavior
VLESP developed a multidisciplinary guideline for professional caregivers on the detection and treatment of suicidal behavior. The primary objective of this guideline is to increase care providers’ ability to deal with suicidal patients. Topics included are:
- Detection of suicidal behavior
- Suicide-specific interventions
- What to do after a suicide attempt
- What to do after a suicide
- How to set up a suicide prevention policy
The guideline focuses primarily on doctors, psychologists and nurses, but may prove useful for other care providers in healthcare too. The guideline is supported by an e-learning course that helps health professionals to learn and practice the recommendations included in the guideline in an interactive way.
Both the guideline and the e-learning course are freely available at: www.zelfmoord1813.be/sp-reflex (in Dutch).Summary of the guideline (in Dutch)
Study on the psychological well-being of gay and transgender people
In 2015, in tandem with the Transgender Infopunt (transgender information centre), VLESP investigated the psychological well-being of gay and transgender people in Flanders. The results are published in a research report. Based on these results information and testimonials on mental health and suicide prevention for LGBT persons was added to the websites of Lumi and the Transgender Infopunt. The results of this study can be found in the evaluation report.Fact sheet LGBT study (in Dutch)
In 2015, BackUp was launched, a mobile app for people who consider suicide, as well as for the people close to them. BackUp provides suicidal people the following tools: a tool to quickly get in touch with your nearest and dearest or BackUps when the going gets tough, BackUp cards that help you recognize when things go wrong and how you can relax, the BackUp box where you can add your hopeful moments, music, photos, and ... a safety plan that helps you get through times of crisis. For people supporting those who (may) consider suicide, the app provides tips on how to recognize warning signs, how to start a conversation about suicide, and it also offers the possibility to share hopeful things and in this way to support others.Fact sheet BackUp (in Dutch)
In 2015, in collaboration with the CGG-Suïcidepreventiewerking, Werkgroep Verder, the Logo's and Vlaams Instituut Gezond Leven, VLESP developed a fact sheet on mental health on stage (‘Geestig gezond op de planken’). This fact sheet is intended for schools who wish to offer their students a theatre production on suicide or mental health and contains tips and areas of attention when evaluating a play, organising a discussion afterwards, accommodating students at risk and incorporating this topic in a wider policy on mental health and suicide prevention at school.Fact sheet theatre recommendations (in Dutch)
Poster campaign for the prevention of suicide
Based on prior research of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center in the United States, a poster and accompanying evaluation and triage guide on detecting and managing suicidal behaviour in patients have been developed and tested, targeting both emergency and psychiatric health professionals in Flanders (Belgium). The main aim of this study was to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of this educational poster campaign in improving knowledge, self-confidence and attitudes for both staff of mental health care and emergency departments.
The results are published in a research report (in Dutch).
The posters are implemented by the suicide prevention workers of the Flemish Mental Health Centres.Research report poster campaign
Looking for immediate help?
Call 1813 for the suicide helpline, or visit Zelfmoord 1813 to chat or e-mail (only in Dutch).