May 02, 2019 04:30 PM EDT
One website - nowmattersnow.org - has demonstrated that it has the benefit of cutting down on suicidal thoughts, according to mental health researchers behind the site.
The team of researcher examined more than 3,000 visitors to the website about their feelings before they got to it compared to a few moments on the site. Almost one-third were significantly less suicidal, and the intensity of their negative emotions had also decreased. They published the results of the study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
Ursula Whiteside, the lead author of the study and also a clinical psychologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said that the outcomes provide hope for people struggling to cope. The site exposes visitors to dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), a form of psychotherapy that combines behavioral science and Buddhist principles on mindfulness and acceptance. UW psychology professor Marsha Linehan developed the site.
Whiteside explained that they set out to build a free resource based not only in science but also with the voices and stories of people who had experienced suicidal thoughts. They wanted clinicians to feel empowered to help those who are struggling.
The website's home page presents a panel of video-linked images of people with relatable experiences on suicide and negative emotions and resources to explore DBT skills.
On September 10, 2014, World Suicide Preventive Day, they launched the site and had more than 250,000 unique visitors as of December 2018. The National Institute of Mental Health and the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention are funding the site.
As she explained, Whiteside explained that she wanted any research she was doing along with her colleagues to be accessible right away since the public has little access to DBT therapy.
From March 5, 2015, to December 3, 2017, they conducted a survey and of the 3,670 unique survey responses, 514, 14 percent of survey sample, identified as men ages 36 to 64 identified as mental health professionals and 308, 8 percent, as other healthcare professionals with 40, 1 percent, identifying as both.
Researchers discovered that significant reductions in suicidal thoughts and negative emotions were consistent across subgroups such as middle-aged men who represent 38 percent of all suicides. Decreases for middle-aged men, however, were not as substantial as that of the rest of the sample. As a result, the researchers concluded that the website could be more tailored toward men.
Researchers noted that almost half of all people who die by suicide in the United States see some healthcare provider in the month before their death. They indicated that newly released screening and care guidelines have the potential to increase the number of suicidal patients detected in healthcare settings. The researchers said that unfortunately, most providers, especially those in primary care settings, where the majority of patients are seen before death by suicide have no relevant training and lack immediate resources to support patients.
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