Year: 2017 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2017). 47(3): 282-296. DOI: 10.1111/sltb.12286 SIEC No: 20170608

Recognizing the importance of digital communication, major suicide prevention helplines have started offering crisis intervention by chat. To date there is little evidence supporting the effectiveness of crisis chat services. To evaluate the reach and outcomes of the 113Online volunteer-operated crisis chat service, 526 crisis chat logs were studied, replicating the use of measures that were developed to study telephone crisis calls. Reaching a relatively young population of predominantly females with severe suicidality and (mental) health problems, chat outcomes for this group were found to be comparable to those found for crisis calls to U.S. Lifeline Centers in 2003–2004, with similar but not identical associations with specific helpers’ styles and attitudes. Our findings support a positive effect of the 113Online chat service, to be enhanced by practice standards addressing an apparent lack of focus on the central issue of suicidality during chats, as well as by the development of best practices specific for online crisis intervention.