There have been only a few reports illustrating the moderate effectiveness of suicide-preventive interventions in reducing suicidal behavior, and, in most of those studies, the target populations were primarily adults, whereas few focused on adolescents. Essentially, there have been no randomized controlled studies comparing the efficacy, cost-effectiveness and cultural adaptability of suicide-prevention strategies in schools. There is also a lack of information on whether suicide-preventive interventions can, in addition to preventing suicide, reduce risk behaviors and promote healthier ones as well as improve young people's mental health.
The aim of the SEYLE project, which is funded by the European Union under the Seventh Framework Health Program, is to address these issues by collecting baseline and follow-up data on health and well-being among European adolescents and compiling an epidemiological database; testing, in a randomized controlled trial, three different suicide-preventive interventions; evaluating the outcome of each intervention in comparison with a control group from a multidisciplinary perspective; as well as recommending culturally adjusted models for promoting mental health and preventing suicidal behaviors.
Methods and design
The study comprises 11,000 adolescents emitted from randomized schools in 11 European countries: Austria, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Spain, with Sweden serving as the scientific coordinating center. Each country performs three active interventions and one minimal intervention as a control group. The active interventions include gatekeeper training (QPR), awareness training on mental health promotion for adolescents, and screening for at-risk adolescents by health professionals. Structured questionnaires are utilized at baseline, 3- and 12-month follow-ups in order to assess changes.
Although it has been reported that suicide-preventive interventions can be effective in decreasing suicidal behavior, well-documented and randomized studies are lacking. The effects of such interventions in terms of combating unhealthy lifestyles in young people, which often characterize suicidal individuals, have never been reported. We know that unhealthy and risk-taking behaviors are detrimental to individuals' current and future health. It is, therefore, crucial to test well-designed, longitudinal mental health-promoting and suicide-preventive interventions by evaluating the implications of such activities for reducing unhealthy and risk behaviors while concurrently promoting healthy ones.
The German Clinical Trials Register, DRKS00000214.