Psychosocial interventions for self-harm, suicidal ideation and suicide attempt in children and young people: What? How? Who? and Where?

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Abstract

We reviewed the evidence for the effectiveness of indicated individual psychosocial interventions for the treatment of self-harm, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in children and young people, with a particular emphasis on the emerging use of electronic methods to deliver psychological interventions. In total, 16 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were identified, none of which included children under the age of 12 years. Cognitive–behavioural therapy is the most commonly implemented approach in RCTs until now, although problem-solving therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, social support and distal support methods by provision of a green card and regular receipt of postcards have also been investigated. Young people have been recruited into RCTs within schools, outpatient clinics, emergency departments and inpatient facilities. Face-to-face delivery of therapy has dominated the intervention trials thus far; however, the use of the internet, social media and mobile devices to deliver interventions to young people and other family members allows for a more novel approach to suicide prevention in youth going forward.

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