An interactive web-based method of outreach to college students at risk for suicide

Ann Haas, Bethany Koestner, Jill Rosenberg, David Moore, Steven J. Garlow, Jan Sedway, Linda Nicholas, Herbert Hendin, J. John Mann, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Objective and Participants: From 2002 to 2005, the authors tested an interactive, Web-based method to encourage college students at risk for suicide to seek treatment. Methods: The authors invited students at 2 universities to complete an online questionnaire that screened for depression and other suicide risk factors. Respondents received a personalized assessment and were able to communicate anonymously with a clinical counselor online. At-risk students were urged to attend in-person evaluation and treatment. Results: A total of 1,162 students (8% of those invited) completed the screening questionnaire; 981 (84.4%) were designated as at high or moderate risk. Among this group, 190 (19.4%) attended an inperson evaluation session with the counselor, and 132 (13.5%) entered treatment. Students who engaged in online dialogues with the counselor were 3 times more likely than were those who did not to come for evaluation and enter treatment. Conclusions: The method has considerable promise for encouraging previously untreated, at-risk college students to get help.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • College students
  • Outreach
  • Suicide prevention
  • Web-based screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Education


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