Examining the Feasibility and Acceptability of a Phone Application for Safety Planning in Youth with Suicidality

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2020-08-01T05:00:00.000Z

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Abstract

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in adolescents. Despite the documented efficacy of the safety plan, research has suggested that youth do not always refer to their plans when experiencing suicidal ideation. Accessibility is often cited as a primary concern. Addressing this concern in youth may mean turning to technological means, such as phone applications, to improve access and utilization. To date, there are relatively few suicide specific apps available, and even fewer that have been empirically tested. In response to this gap in the literature, BRITE was developed as a means of utilizing technology for safety planning. This study examined the feasibility and acceptability of BRITE as a stand-alone intervention in a group of 40 youth who had been recently hospitalized for suicidality. This was measured utilizing the Post-Study System Usability Questionnaire (Lucas & Spitler, 1999; Davis, 1989), an exit interview containing both qualitative and quantitative questions, and data gathered on app usage from the BRITE clinician portal. Additional exploratory analyses around efficacy of the app were conducted utilizing the Concise Health Risk Scale- Self-Report (Trivedi et al. 2011). Results from this study indicated good feasibility and acceptability of the BRITE app. The majority of participants approached for the study gave consent and were retained in the study at four-week follow-up. Most participants (85.7%) utilized the app at least once, and many (66.7%) of these participants went on to engage with app-recommended activities. Analysis showed that there was a significant improvement in pre- and post-app usage ratings of distress. Surveyed participants, on average, rated the app as helpful, accessible and useful and reported that the platform was effective for safety planning. Qualitative analyses supported the quantitative findings, and participants reported overall satisfaction with the app as a whole and its specific components. Despite feasibility and acceptability of the app, exploratory analyses did not reveal any difference in the suicide propensity or suicide risk scores between groups. These findings suggest that BRITE compares favorably to other suicide prevention apps on the market, and adds to the literature suggesting the use of technology in suicide prevention for adolescents.

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Pages 55-63 are misnumbered as pages 54-62.

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