Currently accepted at: JMIR Mental Health
Date Submitted: Jul 9, 2018
Open Peer Review Period: Jul 11, 2018 - Sep 5, 2018
Date Accepted: Jan 27, 2019
(closed for review but you can still tweet)
Service Use History of Individuals Enrolling in an Online Suicidal Ideation Treatment Trial
A significant recent innovation is the development of internet-based psychological treatments for suicidal thinking. However, we know very little about individuals experiencing suicidal ideation who seek help through online services, and in particular, their previous health service usage patterns.
The current study aimed to examine service use history and its correlates amongst adults experiencing suicidal ideation who enrolled in an online suicidal ideation treatment trial.
Participants (N = 418) at pre-intervention reported demographic information, clinical characteristics, and health service use over the previous six-months.
Participants had a high rate of service use in the six months before enrolling in the treatment trial. The two most common contact points were General Practitioners (GPs) and mental health professionals. Notably, those with a previous single suicide attempt had lower odds of contact with any service than those with no attempt. Furthermore, those living in rural or remote areas had lower odds of contacting GPs or mental health professionals than those living in metropolitan areas.
Our study shows that individuals enrolling in an e-health intervention trial have often received treatment from GPs or mental health professionals. These services can therefore play an important role in preventing the escalation of suicidal thinking. Enrolment in our online treatment trial suggests though that face-to-face health services may not be enough. Finally, our study highlights the need to improve the provision of coordinated and assertive care after a suicide attempt, as well as health service availability and utilisation for those living in rural and remote areas.
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