Can online self-help programs impact suicidal thinking?

The results of new study, published in JMIR, show that people experiencing severe suicidal thoughts can engage successfully with anonymous online treatment.

The study was led by Dr Bregje van Spijker from the Australian National University, and included a team of researchers from the Black Dog Institute and VU University Amsterdam and tested the effectiveness of an anonymous online self-help program, Living with Deadly Thoughts.

The study involved 418 Australian adults and was adapted from a Dutch online self-help program using principles of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.

“Participants who completed more of the modules did better than the control group, so sticking with the online treatment appears to be important. Those with less severe suicidal ideation also showed greater improvements,” Dr van Spijker said.

“The next steps will be to identify the support people need in order to be able to engage more effectively with online treatment, and whether online and other e-health interventions can support recovery following a suicide attempt.”

If you or someone you know needs help, contact:
Lifelineon 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service1300 659 467 for 24-hour Australian counselling services.
Beyondblue(1300 22 4636) for 24-hour phone support, online chat, resources and apps.
Mindout for mental health and suicide support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
Kids Helpline1800 55 1800 — free confidential 24-hour counselling for young people aged 5 to 18.
Headspace offers online counselling for young people aged 12-25 and ReachOut has online forums, chat and information about youth mental health.

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