Epidemiological surveillance

Currently conducted epidemiological research includes studies on the occurrence of suicidal behaviour in the general population with trends over time, and the assessment of sociodemographical and clinical risk factors for suicide. By means of this epidemiological surveillance strategy, warnings can be issued if indications are found for increases in the occurrence of suicidal behaviour in the general population or in specific risk groups

Supply of information

The cooperation within European networks allow the exchange of research findings with those from other research units. Research findings also serve to correct misunderstandings related to suicidal behaviour such as the myths as mentioned above. Therefore, the collection of facts is an important objective. In order to achieve this goal, the Unit is establishing a library with books, journals and papers related to suicidal behaviour. Research findings are distributed by means of publications in major mental and public health journals, and by means of scientific contributions to symposia and scientific congresses. The research findings are available for policy makers at governmental levels, and for distribution in the general publication by means of the mass media (news papers, television). The Unit also is frequently asked to contribute to informative meetings for the general public or health professionals (e.g. general practitioners).


Due to the organizational link between the Unit for Suicide Research and the Department of Psychiatry of the University Hospital the expertise which is developed by means of research is directly available to the clinicians and therapists of the hospital. Several specific interventions are currently in development, such as support groups for relatives of suicide victims, and therapy groups for suicide survivors.

Pathogenesis of suicidal behavior

Several studies aim at exploring the riskfactors that constitute the vulnerability for the development of suicidal behavior. Psychiatric riskfactors (depression, anxiety,...), personality-characteristics and neuropsychologic-characterics are explored. Biological studies are designed to examine cerebral perfusion and the functioning of serotonine.