Effects of Awareness Material on Suicide-Related Knowledge and the Intention to Provide Adequate Help to Suicidal Individuals

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Abstract

Background: Little is known about the impact of educative media reports on the intention to provide help to suicidal individuals and on suicide-related knowledge. Aims: To test whether material debunking widely shared myths influences knowledge and the intention to provide adequate help to others, and if such information reduces reading enjoyment. Method: A randomized controlled trial was utilized. Participants allocated to the intervention group were exposed to awareness material explicitly addressing suicide myths. Results: Analyses show that exposure to printed awareness material increased knowledge, which in turn positively influenced intentions to provide help. The inclusion of information regarding suicide myths did not reduce reading enjoyment. Limitations: The awareness material used in this study only addressed two suicide myths that were considered to be especially important. Conclusion: Information debunking suicide myths in suicide-related media reports is therefore both feasible and potentially helpful.

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