A Nudge in a New Direction: Integrating Behavioral Economic Strategies into Suicide Prevention Work

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Three commonly used behavioral economic strategies were tested to investigate their utility in suicide prevention and mental health initiatives. Study 1 used a social norms nudge to potentially increase the people who accessed an online suicide risk factor intervention via e-mail (N = 14,792). E-mails containing the social norm nudge were 164% more likely to click on the link relative to those who received the e-mail without the nudge. Study 2 used item count technique to better estimate suicidal ideation compared with direct questioning methods endorsed by two groups of online participants (N = 787). No difference between groups was found. Study 3 used framing techniques to understand if participants (N = 787) were more likely to access online coping skills when framed as being able to help others who may go through a suicidal crisis rather than themselves. Findings indicated more participants accessed the coping skills when framed as having utility for helping other people going through a suicidal crisis.

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Clinical Psychological Science

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