Clinicians need improved awareness of the internet to help suicidal patients, report shows

Researchers have found a high proportion of people with suicidal thoughts search for information online.
suicide in adults

Clinicians need an improved understanding of the internet to help offer online support to suicidal patients, a report has revealed.

The research, published by the University of Bristol, Samaritans and Papyrus, studied the experiences of more than 4,000 people and found that a high proportion of those who had suicidal thoughts looked for information about suicide online.

suicide in adults
Greater understanding of internet use will help clinicians help suicidal adults. Picture: iStock

Participants in the study, which was funded by the Department of Health, also showed ‘considerable dissatisfaction’ with formal online help.

The information came from the university’s Children of the 90s project, also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a long-term health-research project that enrolled more than 14,000 pregnant women in 1991 and 1992.

Continuing support

It has been following the health and development of the parents and their children in detail ever since and is currently recruiting the children and siblings of the original children into the study.

 ‘We urgently need to find the better ways of supporting people online and understanding the way they use the internet, so that we can try and protect them,’ said lead investigator Dr Lucy Biddle, senior lecturer in medical sociology from the University of Bristol.