Personal information

Ad  Kerkhof

Ad Kerkhof (1952) is professor of Clinical Psychology, Psychopathology and Suicide Prevention at the Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogiek. His main interests are the epidemiology of suicide and the prevention of suicide.

His studies concerned among others the epidemiology of attempted suicide and the prediction of repetition of attempted suicide (WHO / EURO colaborative study into suicidal behaviour). He studied the management of suicide attempters in general hospitals, and aftercare services. Previous projects concerned suicidal behaviour in jails and prisons, cellblocks, and among immigrants and asylum seeking persons. In 2011 a ph.d student will have his dissertation on train suicides.

Studies into suicide provide the evidence base for suicide prevention in actual practice and in policies. Studies at the suicidology department concentrate on the implication of research findings into the actual practice of mental health care. Actual reserach projects are about the quality of the notification procedure of suicides in mental health care to the inspectorate, the development of a web based self help intervention for suicidal persons, the development of an assessment instrument fof suicidality among adolescents, the development and implementation of guidelines for the assessment and treatment of suicidal patients through stepped training programmes and e-learning support. A new project concerns the effectiveness of gatekeeper training for suicide prevention at the municpal level.

Ad Kerkhof is involved in advising the Ministry of Health on suicide prevention policy. He is one of the authors of the multidisciplinary guidelines for the asessment and treatment of suicidal patients which are bound to appear in the beginning of 2011.

Education: Ad Kerkhof teaches personality psychology, masterclasses suicide and suicide prevention, post graduate education in health care psychology, and in research masters. In 2010 he received the VU university price for the best teacher. He is chairman of the examination board of the psychology program.

Besides his work at the VU, Ad Kerkhof has a one day a week private pratice for psychotherapy where he treats depressed and suicidal patients, survivors of suicide, and partner relationship problems (see, and he writes self help books.