The online treatment of suicidal ideation: A randomised controlled trial of an unguided web-based intervention

Eva De Jaegere*, Renate van Landschoot, Kees van Heeringen, Bregje A.J. van Spijker, Ad J.F.M. Kerkhof, Jan K. Mokkenstorm, Gwendolyn Portzky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Suicide is a major public health issue, and treatment of suicidal thoughts may contribute to its prevention. Provision of online treatment of suicidal ideation may reduce barriers that suicidal individuals experience in face-to-face treatment. We therefore aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of a web-based intervention targeting a reduction of suicidal ideation. We carried out a two-arm, parallel-design, randomised controlled trial in the general population in Flanders (Belgium) (registered as NCT03209544). Participants who were 18 years or older and experienced suicidal ideation were included. The intervention group (n = 365) received access to the unguided web-based intervention, and the control group (n = 359) was placed on a waitlist. Assessments were carried out at baseline and at 6 and 12 weeks. Participants reported high levels of suicidal ideation, depression, hopelessness, worrying, and anxiety at baseline. Compared to the control group, participants in the intervention group experienced a significant decline in suicidal ideation, depression, hopelessness, worrying, and anxiety both at post-test and at follow-up. An important limitation of the study was a high dropout rate, in particular in the intervention group. Our findings suggest that the online self-help intervention was more effective in reducing suicidal ideation and suicide-related symptoms than a waitlist control in a severely affected population. It can help in filling the gap between crisis help and face-to-face treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103406
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Volume119
Early online date16 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

Keywords

  • Online therapy
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Self-help
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The online treatment of suicidal ideation: A randomised controlled trial of an unguided web-based intervention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this