Can an Internet-based intervention reduce suicidal ideation, depression and hopelessness among secondary school students: results from a pilot study

Authors

  • Jo Robinson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    • Corresponding author: Ms Jo Robinson, Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Locked Bag 10, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia. Email: jr@unimelb.edu.au

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  • Sarah Hetrick,

    1. Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
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  • Georgina Cox,

    1. Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
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  • Sarah Bendall,

    1. Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
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  • Hok Pan Yuen,

    1. Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
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  • Alison Yung,

    1. Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    2. Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
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  • Jane Pirkis

    1. Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Conflict of Interest

    The authors report no conflict of interest.

Abstract

Aim

Little evidence exists regarding the efficacy of suicide prevention programmes among the youth. This pilot study aimed to test the effects of a specifically designed, eight-module Internet-based programme on suicidal ideation among secondary school students.

Methods

The study employed a pre-test/post-test design. Outcomes of interest were suicidal ideation, depression and hopelessness. Participants were recruited via the school well-being team, were assessed at baseline and immediately post-intervention. The intervention was delivered weekly at the young persons' school.

Results

Twenty-one students completed all eight modules and a post-intervention assessment, and constitute the observed case sample used for the analysis. Overall levels of suicidal ideation, depressive symptoms and hopelessness decreased significantly over the course of the study.

Conclusions

This was a small pilot study with no control group. However, significant reductions were seen in suicidal ideation, depressive symptoms and hopelessness, indicating that Internet-based interventions may hold promise when it comes to reducing suicide risk among youth. Further investigation is warranted.

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