Suicide is now the most common cause of death in Australians aged 15 – 44yrs, with 2300 Australians taking their own life each year. A further 65,000 make suicide attempts and thousands more experience thoughts that life isn’t worth living.
Whilst considerable investment has been made into suicide prevention, rates are not declining. According to Prof Helen Christensen at the Black Dog Institute, innovative prevention and treatment options are urgently required.
“Most of our existing services are based on a person actively seeking help through direct contact with another – whether that is seeing a mental health care professional or speaking to crisis service providers.”
“Whilst this is always the preferable option, we know that many people are reluctant to acknowledge their thoughts of suicide and may therefore be unlikely to seek face-to-face help.”
“We are trialling a new approach to suicide prevention – a web-based program that is confidential, self-directed and accessible to anyone with an internet connection.”
The “Healthy Thinking” trial is testing a world-first suicide prevention program developed by researchers at the Black Dog Institute and the Australian National University in partnership with NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention.
Using evidence-based psychological techniques, “Healthy Thinking” aims to empower people to take charge of unhelpful thoughts and learn ways to manage them on an ongoing basis. As a confidential web-based resource, it circumvents the issues involved with speaking to someone directly.
“For most people, suicidal thoughts are infrequent and linked to life events,”
says Prof Christensen.
“Using this program we are teaching people that thoughts of suicide can be managed rather than acted upon.”
The Black Dog Institute is currently asking Australians aged 18-65 years who are currently experiencing thoughts of suicide to register their interest in the ‘Healthy Thinking’ Trial at http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/public/research/suicideprevention.cfm
Please note – “Healthy Thinking” is not a crisis service. Anyone in suicidal crisis is encouraged to seek help at Lifeline 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 or their local GP.