Summary of the project

Background: Over 58 000 suicides in Europe every year have an impact on the educational system, employability and economy. In Sweden, in 2014, the indirect costs (loss of the quality-adjusted life- years, QALYs) of suicides were estimated 849 383 mln euro and approximately 4,3-5,7 mln euro in direct costs (costs of transport, treatment, investigation)
(Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, 2015). Given that more than 50% of individuals who committed suicide had recent contact with healthcare prior to death, it is vital to increase suicide preventive skills of students and teachers in the field of Medicine, Nursing, Psychology, Social Work and Media. Enhancing skills in suicide risk assessment and prevention by the introduction of digital tools which can be used by a person in an acute
suicidal crisis (including students and teachers), may save life and improve the accessibility of mental health services for disadvantaged groups. Currently, in the participating countries, there are no available online suicide prevention tools in the field of higher education. The ELLIPSE program aims to fill this gap.

The objective: To tackle skills-gaps in suicide prevention while addressing the learning needs and preferences of students as well as the reality of the labor market in the field of health and social care. To enable institutions of higher education to provide online courses in suicide prevention to students. To increase skills of prospective health and social care professionals to cope with the challenges of working with populations at risk for suicide and to increase available employees with skills that professionally serve this population. To encourage prospective journalists to engage in suicide prevention. To promote internationalization, mobility and development of European standards in this field.

The participants: Students and teachers in the field of Medicine, Nursing, Psychology, Social Work and Media, NGOs representing patients and relatives, suicide loss survivors, health- and social care workers, first responders, media and policy makers in Sweden, Norway, Poland, Hungary and Austria. The number of participants will be min. 600.

The activities: Focus groups, joint staff training event, transnational project meetings, organization of international conferences, survey study, literature research and data analysis. Development and implementation of an e-learning and self-help crisis app. Publishing manuals. Ongoing dissemination and communications via websites, social media, interviews, articles, press conference on World Day of Suicide Prevention, mail, phone contact and networks of participating organizations.

The methodology: All activities are grouped in three 1- year phases. The project will start with the dissemination of information about the project World Day of Suicide Prevention (10th September). Phase 1: development of surveys and 10 focus groups representing patients and relatives, suicide loss survivors, mental health and primary healthcare, social care workers, first responders, as well as media, managers, policy makers, students and
teachers in the field of Medicine, Nursing, Psychology, Social Care and Media. Phase 2: A preliminary version of e-learning modules, handbook and self-help app will be created and evaluated in feasibility surveys for acceptance. Phase 3: The final version of e-learning program, handbook and self-help app will be launched and evaluated after 3 and 6 months. In Phase 3, research activities will complement the evaluation procedures and will result in open-access scientific publications. The potential protective effects of the suicide preventive programs on suicide rates can be modified by many bio-psycho-socio-cultural factors that need to be taken account. Project will end with the 1st International Conference on Educational Programs in Suicide Prevention 2022. The international expert group will publish guidelines, checklist and a final report.

Results and impact: Designed for students and teachers in the field of higher education an e-learning OER course on suicide prevention in the field of higher education with a handbook, a self-help crisis app, a manual with the description of the step-by-step project activities and expert guidelines on educational programs in suicide prevention. All materials
will be published online in 6 languages incl. English. The project will monitor the number of users and the potential influence of the program on learners and participants-developer of the program. Participating organizations are expected to have a strong focus on dissemination and sustainability of the project. It may have a large and sustainable impact on organizational and regional (better communication, skills and empowerment), national (increased competence) and international level (development of international expert guidelines on educational programs in suicide prevention that may help to keep high standards of future programs in this field).