The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention: Research, Policy and Practice

By Rory C. O’Connor; Jane Pirkis | Go to book overview

27
Delivering Online Cognitive
Behavioral Therapy Interventions
to Reduce Suicide Risk

Ad Kerkhof and Bregje van Spijker


Introduction

To date there are many reviews and studies testifying to the effectiveness of online interventions for the prevention and treatment of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, problem alcohol use, and so on. There are many such studies for adults as well as for adolescents (Andersson & Cuijpers, 2009; Andrews, Cuijpers, Craske, McEnvoy, & Titov, 2010; Calear & Christensen, 2010; Christensen, Griffiths, & Farrer, 2009; Christensen et al., 2013; Richards et al., 2015; Riper et al., 2008; Watts, Newby, Mewton, & Andrews, 2012). Despite the major advances in other areas of mental health, the field of suicide prevention is lagging behind, with relatively few Internet interventions targeted at suicidal ideation. Indeed, three recent reviews reached the same conclusion. First, Mishara and Kerkhof (2013) presented an update on the empirical evidence for the use of new technologies in suicide prevention. Second, Hatcher (2013) gave an overview of e-therapies in suicide prevention, and most recently, Jacob, Scourfield, and Evans (2014) published a comprehensive descriptive review of suicide prevention via the Internet. These reviews all demonstrated that although only a few good online suicide prevention studies have been conducted, there has been welcome growth in research activity in this area recently. Indeed, reviews up to 2008 did not find any good empirical studies (Pietrzak & McLaughlin, 2009). Of the Internet interventions that have been studied in suicide prevention thus far, all have been based on cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), because the written text, exercises, and homework assignments translate easily into online delivery.

In this chapter, we focus on (in our view) the three most important studies in this field; the first two studies targeted adult depression but included suicide ideation as a secondary outcome (Christensen et al., 2013; Watts et al., 2012), whereas the third study targeted adult suicidal ideation directly (van Spijker, van Straten, & Kerkhof, 2014).

The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention, Second Edition. Edited by Rory C. O’Connor and Jane Pirkis. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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