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New website may help eliminate suicidal thoughts

Researchers claim to have developed a website which could be beneficial in decreasing suicidal thoughts.

Researchers asked more than 3,000 website visitors how they felt before they got to the site compared to a few minutes on the website. Nearly one-third were significantly less suicidal, and the intensity of their negative emotions had also decreased, according to the study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Lead author Ursula Whiteside, said,” the results offer hope for people struggling to cope. The site exposes visitors to dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), a form of psychotherapy that combines behavioural science and Buddhist principles on mindfulness and acceptance.”

“We 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. We wanted clinicians to feel empowered to help those who are struggling,” she added.

The home page presents a panel of video-linked images of individuals with relatable experiences on suicide and negative emotions and resources to explore DBT skills.

Users were asked to rate their suicidal thoughts or negative feelings on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the most suicidal or negative).

“The vast majority of people who die by suicide never receive specialized mental health care,” Whiteside said.

Researchers noted that nearly half of all people who die by suicide see some type of healthcare provider in the month before their death.

They said newly released screening and care guidelines have the potential to increase the number of suicidal patients detected in healthcare settings.

Unfortunately, they said, most providers – particularly 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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First Published:
May 03, 2019 10:15 IST

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