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BackUp : development and evaluation of a smart-phone application for coping with suicidal crises

(2017) PLOS ONE. 12(6).
Author
Organization
Abstract
Background : Suicide is a major public health issue and has large impact on the lives of many people. Innovative technologies such as smartphones could create new possibilities for suicide prevention, such as helping to overcome the barriers and stigma on help seeking in case of suicidal ideation. Due to their omnipresence, smartphone apps can offer suicide prevention tools very fast, they are easily-accessible, low-threshold and can help overcome some of the help-seeking barriers suicidal people experience. This article describes the development, testing and implementation of a mobile application for coping with suicidal crisis: BackUp. Methods : Based on the analysis of literature and existing suicide prevention apps several tools were identified as relevant to include in a suicide prevention app. The selected tools (a safety planning tool, a hope box, a coping cards module, and a module to reach out) are evidence based in a face to face context, and could be easily transferred into a mobile app. The testing of existing apps and the literature also revealed important guidelines for the technical development of the application. Results : BackUp was developed and tested by an expert panel (n = 9) and a panel of end users (n = 21). Both groups rated BackUp as valuable for suicide prevention. Suicidal ideation of the end user group was measured using the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation before and after testing BackUp, and showed a small but non-significant decrease. The majority of the testers used BackUp several times. All tools were evaluated as rather or very useable in times of suicidal crisis. Conclusion : BackUp was positively evaluated and indicates that self-help tools can have a positive impact on suicidal ideation. Apps in particular create opportunities in approaching people that are not reached by traditional interventions; on the other hand they can contribute to suicide prevention in addition to regular care. However, more research is needed on the impact and effect of suicide prevention apps.
Keywords
MENTAL-HEALTH, MOBILE PHONE, HELP-SEEKING, PREVENTION, INTERVENTION, TECHNOLOGY, MHEALTH, RISK

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Citation

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MLA
Pauwels, Kirsten, Saskia Aerts, Ekke Muijzers, et al. “BackUp : Development and Evaluation of a Smart-phone Application for Coping with Suicidal Crises.” PLOS ONE 12.6 (2017): n. pag. Print.
APA
Pauwels, K., Aerts, S., Muijzers, E., De Jaegere, E., Van Heeringen, C., & Portzky, G. (2017). BackUp : development and evaluation of a smart-phone application for coping with suicidal crises. PLOS ONE, 12(6).
Chicago author-date
Pauwels, Kirsten, Saskia Aerts, Ekke Muijzers, Eva De Jaegere, Cornelis Van Heeringen, and Gwendolyn Portzky. 2017. “BackUp : Development and Evaluation of a Smart-phone Application for Coping with Suicidal Crises.” Plos One 12 (6).
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Pauwels, Kirsten, Saskia Aerts, Ekke Muijzers, Eva De Jaegere, Cornelis Van Heeringen, and Gwendolyn Portzky. 2017. “BackUp : Development and Evaluation of a Smart-phone Application for Coping with Suicidal Crises.” Plos One 12 (6).
Vancouver
1.
Pauwels K, Aerts S, Muijzers E, De Jaegere E, Van Heeringen C, Portzky G. BackUp : development and evaluation of a smart-phone application for coping with suicidal crises. PLOS ONE. 2017;12(6).
IEEE
[1]
K. Pauwels, S. Aerts, E. Muijzers, E. De Jaegere, C. Van Heeringen, and G. Portzky, “BackUp : development and evaluation of a smart-phone application for coping with suicidal crises,” PLOS ONE, vol. 12, no. 6, 2017.
@article{8549884,
  abstract     = {{Background : Suicide is a major public health issue and has large impact on the lives of many people. Innovative technologies such as smartphones could create new possibilities for suicide prevention, such as helping to overcome the barriers and stigma on help seeking in case of suicidal ideation. Due to their omnipresence, smartphone apps can offer suicide prevention tools very fast, they are easily-accessible, low-threshold and can help overcome some of the help-seeking barriers suicidal people experience. This article describes the development, testing and implementation of a mobile application for coping with suicidal crisis: BackUp. 
Methods : Based on the analysis of literature and existing suicide prevention apps several tools were identified as relevant to include in a suicide prevention app. The selected tools (a safety planning tool, a hope box, a coping cards module, and a module to reach out) are evidence based in a face to face context, and could be easily transferred into a mobile app. The testing of existing apps and the literature also revealed important guidelines for the technical development of the application. 
Results : BackUp was developed and tested by an expert panel (n = 9) and a panel of end users (n = 21). Both groups rated BackUp as valuable for suicide prevention. Suicidal ideation of the end user group was measured using the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation before and after testing BackUp, and showed a small but non-significant decrease. The majority of the testers used BackUp several times. All tools were evaluated as rather or very useable in times of suicidal crisis. 
Conclusion : BackUp was positively evaluated and indicates that self-help tools can have a positive impact on suicidal ideation. Apps in particular create opportunities in approaching people that are not reached by traditional interventions; on the other hand they can contribute to suicide prevention in addition to regular care. However, more research is needed on the impact and effect of suicide prevention apps.}},
  articleno    = {{e0178144}},
  author       = {{Pauwels, Kirsten and Aerts, Saskia and Muijzers, Ekke and De Jaegere, Eva and Van Heeringen, Cornelis and Portzky, Gwendolyn}},
  issn         = {{1932-6203}},
  journal      = {{PLOS ONE}},
  keywords     = {{MENTAL-HEALTH,MOBILE PHONE,HELP-SEEKING,PREVENTION,INTERVENTION,TECHNOLOGY,MHEALTH,RISK}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{6}},
  pages        = {{11}},
  title        = {{BackUp : development and evaluation of a smart-phone application for coping with suicidal crises}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178144}},
  volume       = {{12}},
  year         = {{2017}},
}

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