European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD)

European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD)

Established by mental health experts from different European research institutions to sustain the EU-funded EAAD projects (2004-2008), the EAAD is involved in several European research projects targeting depression and suicide prevention.


To promote the public health, education and the care of depressed patients and prevention of suicidal tendencies by initiating community-based intervention programmes.

Mission statement


  • Actions to improve the care for patients affected by depression and prevent suicides
  • Supporting relatives of persons concerned
  • Promoting the 4-level-approach
  • Raising public awareness of the occurrence and impact of depression and suicidal tendency
  • Information and education of the general public and professionals
  • Information about EAAD and dissemination of EAAD results at regional, national and European level
  • Support young researchers
  • Conducting further research on interventions for depression and the prevention of suicides

EAAD Project Framework

4-Level Approach

The 4-level approach - implemented in different regions in 17 European countries - comprises of:

  1. Primary care and mental health care GPs and pediatricians will be invited to educational workshops on how to recognize and treat depression and explore suicidal tendency in the primary care setting. Information materials (e.g. video tapes) will be distributed to GPs who can hand them out to their patients.
  2. General public: Depression awareness campaign The broad public will be addressed by large-scale public awareness campaigns including posters, cinema spots, information leaflets, brochures, public events and web presence. The aim is to improve knowledge about adequate treatments of depression in general and to reduce the stigmatization of the topic “depression” and the affected individuals.
  3. Patients, high-risk groups and relatives ”Emergency Cards” will be handed out to high risk groups (first of all young people in adolescent crisis and persons after suicide attempt) guaranteeing direct access to professional help in a suicidal crisis. Initiatives will be started to found regional self-help groups and support them with expert advice. Partnerships with patient associations will be established and intensified.
  4. Community facilitators and stakeholders Educational workshops will be held to various target groups playing an important role in disseminating knowledge about depressive disorders (e.g. health care professionals, priests, counselors, police). Particular emphasis can be put, e.g. on special offers for parents, youth workers and teachers in order to reach children and adolescents suffering from depression, deliberate self harm and suicidal behaviour (e.g. information sessions and prevention programs in schools). A close co-operation with the media is crucial to trigger the public discussion. Special guidelines on media coverage of suicidal tendency will be distributed to prevent copycat suicides.

Sharing experience

The 4-level approach was complemented with existing materials and experiences of the EAAD project partners to distribute to key partners. These material and training concepts have been collected on an international level and examples of best practice have been evaluated by an expert group.

A catalogue of EAAD campaign material has been compiled for use on international level. Some examples are listing posters, leaflets, video tapes, cinema spot, evaluation instruments and training packages. They have been translated and adapted to national specifics. Special emphasis has been put on a common optical characteristic in order to keep the common public face of the EAAD project as a Europe-wide initiative. All EAAD project partners get together in regular meetings in order to coordinate the activities in the different countries, to exchange the practical experiences in a “knowledge pool” and to combine forces Europe-wide.

Building the Alliance

During the first phase of the EAAD project (April 2004 – December 2005) an international network of cooperating partners representing 15 European regions has been established. In 2004 this network started to implement regional interventions following a common strategic approach and using comparable material. In 2006, two further partners joined the EAAD network (from Luxembourg and the Netherlands).

The establishment of the intervention program on regional level comprises the following steps:

  • To account for the different stages of preparation and experiences on regional level, different participation models have been defined for EAAD. These different participation models open the project for regions at the very beginning of conceptualizing a 4-level intervention program as well as for regions which are already prepared to run the complete program. This gives EAAD a highly flexible character able to respond to changing needs of the partners.
  • Within the second project phase (January 2006 – June 2008) the regional interventions expanded  to nation-wide initiatives in the participating countries, to include further European partners into the Alliance and to establish an umbrella organization in order to obtain a sustainable improvement of the care of depressed patients in Europe.

Key partners

The non-profit association European Alliance Against Depression, coordinated from Leipzig, Germany currently consists of over 20 members from across the world:


  • EAAD was funded by the European Commission between 2004 and 2008.
  • After the end of EU funding, eight former project partners of EAAD established a registered non-profit association to ensure sustainability and to further disseminate the 4-level intervention concept to other regions in Europe.
  • The EAAD association is mainly funded via membership fees from the different partners across the world and receives project funding from the European Commissions H2020 framework programme, e.g. ImpleMentAll.


Prevention and promotion
Training, education and capacity building
Treatment, care and rehabilitation
Depression/anxiety/stress-related disorders
South America
Children and adolescents
Families and carers
Primary care
Specialist care