Suicide is one of the most serious problems in world health, related in 90% of cases to mental, and particularly affective, disturbances; even though it is often part of a psychiatric syndrome it remains an independent variable. The suicide prevention programmes which have proved most effective thus far have aimed primarily at reducing the availability of lethal resources or access to them and at an improvement in the diagnosis and treatment of depression. The most promising approaches have acted on more than one level and include nonmedical resources such as members of the family. The European Alliance Against Depres-sion (EAAD) is a five-year project with four levels of intervention, based on evidence and carried out on the territory of 17 regions in 16 European nations. The campaign aims to identify, treat and provide better personal attention to the depression victim, in order to reduce suicide rates and modify the stigmatising attitudes of society with regard to the depressed. The Trentino Alto Adige region has joined the project in order to make the population more aware and to attempt to reduce a suicide rate that has remained constantly high. The early monitoring results are promising and indicate deeper knowledge of depression and better treatment for it in the Alto Adige population compared to the situation in other areas that have been investigated. With the support of the Ministry of Health and central and local coordination an attempt will be made to extend the project to other regions of Italy so as to experiment whether or not it is also effective in different conditions - an approach that will require a further research effort.
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