This paper is the first report on a national program for increasing bereavement support for suicide survivors in the Flemish region in Belgium. A Working Group consisting of representatives of a wide variety of mental health institutions, social programs, and suicide survivor groups in the area determined that a program developing networks between the services seems to hold the greatest promise for both an increase in the number of services available and an improvement in the quality of services offered.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article presents the aim and the activities of the national suicide survivor programme developed by the Flemish Working Group on Suicide Survivors in Belgium. By combining the efforts of suicide survivor groups, several social organisations and policy makers it was possible to increase the availability of survivor support and to nourish the quality of the support that is offered. It is expected that the co-ordinated activities of the Working Group will be included in the suicide prevention policy of the Flemish region, which is currently in preparation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper is to present the suicide prevention policy implemented by the Mental Health Centre in Brussels. The policy focuses on the quality of the help offered and on the efficacy of the services provided by the network of providers in mental health and social care. Goals of the policy are to optimise the care offered to clients at risk from suicidal behaviour; develop networks to enable follow-up with at-risk patients; lend support to and to share relevant knowledge with other caregivers; advocate suicide prevention issues within local networks; facilitate postvention; participate in regional and (international suicide prevention activities. The policy development started at the end of 1997, as a concerted strategy of all Mental Health Centres in the Flemish region of Belgium. An initial review of the policy recommended the implementation of guidelines, in all the Mental Health Centres, to deal with at-risk patients, improving the networks between inpatient and outpatient care and the continuation, maintenance and development of contacts with other key personnel involved in suicide prevention and postvention initiatives and services. An evaluation of progress to date concluded that the policy development is addressing the appropriate issues in a meaningful manner but emphasised continuous implementation and evaluation are essential to ensure the best possible practices are followed.
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