Originally published by 2 Minute Medicine® (view original article). Reused on AccessMedicine with permission.

1. In this randomized control trial, suicide prevention videos improved suicidal ideation as compared to control videos immediately following intervention, but not at 4-week follow-up.

2. The intervention group had significant improvements in help-seeking intention and reduction of favorable attitudes to suicide which was sustained at 4-week follow-up as compared to controls.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in adolescents. Symptoms of suicidal ideation may be difficult to detect, and suicide prevention remains a priority in this population. Use of technology and exposure to advertisements is increasing annually in youth. Thus, leveraging media to educate vulnerable individuals on suicide prevention may decrease suicidal ideation and feelings of isolation.

The present randomized control trial compared viewing of suicide prevention videos to neutral control videos in adolescents. Participants were included if they were 14- to 19-year-old residents of Austria. Participants with an inability to provide informed consent were excluded. The primary outcome of suicidal ideation was measured by the Reasons for Living Inventory for Adolescents (RFL-A). Secondary outcomes were scores on the 10-item General Help-seeking Questionnaire (GHSQ), Cognitions Concerning Suicide Scale (CCSS), 12-item short version of the Stigma of Suicide Scale (SOSS), and the Mood Affective State Scale (M-ASS).

In total, 299 participants were included and either randomized to the suicide prevention video group (n=148) or the control video group (n=151). RFL-A scores significantly improved in the intervention group as compared to control immediately after intervention (p<0.01) but not at 4-week follow-up (p=0.06). M-ASS scores were also improved in the intervention group after video viewing (p=0.02) but not follow-up (p=0.19). Sustained improvement was seen in the intervention group as compared to control for professional help seeking intention (GHSQ subscale; p=0.05), and CCSS score (p=0.04). Furthermore, participants reported a sustained reduction of favorable attitudes towards suicide. Conversely, SOSS scores did not differ between groups at any timepoint. The findings of this study should be taken into consideration given its limitations. Of note, the study utilized a small sample size, had overrepresentation of female participants, limited follow-up time, and did not control for how many times the video was viewed. Nonetheless, this randomized control trial suggests that suicide prevention videos may contribute to reduced burden of suicidal behaviors in adolescents.

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