(Trigger Warning: article discusses suicide prevention)
Studies have shown that nearly half of the people who died by suicide visited their primary health care provider in the month before their death. While routine screening for depression can uncover suicidal thoughts, that’s not effective enough. But what if there was an easily accessible suicide-specific intervention that was more effective and immediate? Fortunately it appears there now is one.
NowMattersNow.org, a specialized research team based at the University of Washington in Seattle, developed and tested an open-access website that features video stories of peers and experts who provide supportive and pro-active advice and information for individuals who are experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Research on the website’s effectiveness found that 30% of over 1000 suicidal people sampled had less intense thoughts and urges within ten minutes of viewing the videos.
Team leader and the study’s principal investigator Ursula Whiteside, Ph.D. is a psychologist and clinical faculty member at the University of Washington, where she trained for ten years with Dr. Marsha Linehan, developer of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). “This is just the beginning – we think this represents just a sliver of the possibility of what we can do to provide free online support to those going through suicidal times”.
You can learn more about this innovative approach to a serious mental health issue in the press release that announced the launch of the NowMattersNow video project.
In addition, you can access the research paper published by the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
And you can also get a feel for the video here: