Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

The development of a randomised controlled trial testing the effects of an online intervention among school students at risk of suicide

Jo Robinson1*, Sarah Hetrick1, Georgina Cox1, Sarah Bendall1, Alison Yung12, Hok Pan Yuen1, Kate Templer1 and Jane Pirkis3

Author Affiliations

1 Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Locked Bag 10, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia

2 Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

3 Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Level 4, 207 Bouverie Street, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia

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BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14:155  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-155

Published: 27 May 2014



Suicide-related behaviour among young people is of significant concern, yet little is known regarding the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce risk among this population. Of those interventions that have been tested, cognitive-behavioural therapy appears to show some promise among young people with suicidal ideation. Internet-based interventions are becoming increasingly popular and have shown some effect in preventing and treating depression and anxiety in young people. However, to date there are no randomised controlled trials examining the impact of Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy among suicidal youth.


This is a randomised controlled trial testing the effects of Internet-based cognitive-behavioural therapy among suicidal high school students who have sought help from the school wellbeing team. The intervention comprises 8 modules of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy delivered online. The study has a staggered, two-year recruitment phase and participants are assessed at baseline, post intervention and 12 weeks later.


If effective the program has the ability to be readily adapted and delivered to a range of populations in a range of settings, at relatively little cost. It can also be adapted for mobile applications.

Trial registration

ACTRN12613000864729. Date registered: 05/08/2013

Suicide; Cognitive behavioural therapy; Adolescents; Schools; Internet; Randomised controlled trial; Youth; Online