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The aims and objectives of the SUPREME Project are as follows:

  • Development of a culturally adjusted model for mental health promotion on the Internet
  • To map and produce an exhaustive list of existing resources that promote mental health and prevent suicide on the Internet, in Scientific Journals and in the general media
  • Implementation of an Internet based mental health promotion and suicide prevention intervention
  • Development of guidelines for best practices in Internet and media-based mental health promotion and suicide prevention
  • Developing partnerships for action: ensuring sustainability and future actions through connections with other organisations

The main expected outcome of the project is to improve mental health among European adolescents and young adults. Conclusions will be reached about the best practices to promote mental health through the Internet and the media: these will include evidence based information about the overall effectiveness of the intervention; the most effective way to involve large numbers of adolescents and young adults in the intervention; and the capacity of the intervention to include people in need who suffer from social exclusion.  Best practices for mental health promotion will be available for European stakeholders, the scientific community, the media, and the general public.

The target group for this project is adolescents and young adults in between the ages of 14-24 years. This group was chosen because mental health problems identified in adulthood are often developed and progress during childhood and adolescent years. Research suggests that mental health problems are rapidly increasing, from being 12% of the total burden of disease, with projections of up to 15% by 2020 (WHO 2003). Mental health problems can be fatal: research indicates that suicide is one of the most common causes of death among the age group 15-34 years. In Europe each year, approximately 13,500 young men and women aged 15-24 years die by suicide, and up to 500,000 attempt suicide. Studies have also found that youth suicide almost always occurs in the context of an active, often treatable, mental illness, such as depression (Brent et al., 1999; Shaffer et al., 1996), which frequently goes unrecognized or untreated (Shaffer et al., 2004).

Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and conduct disorder that persist without treatment, establish a foundation for patterns of behaviour and life choices. The transition between adolescence and adulthood is a fundamental period for ascertaining the current and future health of an individual. Therefore, targeting vulnerable adolescents and promoting mental health is vital in preventing future mortality and morbidity associated with mental health problems.

Specific strategies will be implemented in each participating country in order to reach the higher possible number of people. These will include: promotion of the Internet-based intervention in schools and universities; information about the intervention on websites managed by young people; and social networks. Strategies to reach target groups will be delivered by peers and mental health professionals, then compared in order to evaluate their efficacy.