World-first trial of online suicide prevention program launched
The Healthy Thinking program, designed by researchers at the Black Dog Institute and Australian National University, “aims to empower people to take charge of unhelpful thoughts and learn ways to manage them on an ongoing basis”.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Susan Murray said suicide killed about 2300 Australians a year, more than skin cancer or car accidents, “yet we don’t have the same national focus on prevention or intervention”.
Most people’s suicidal thoughts were infrequent but for some “they become entrenched as an obsessive and constant presence and this dramatically increases the risk of someone acting on these thoughts”, she said.
Black Dog Institute executive director Professor Helen Christensen, one of the software designers, said many people were reluctant to acknowledge their thoughts about suicide, and the Healthy Thinking program was designed to circumvent the