FSU to collaborate on suicide prevention program

December 04, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

Tallahassee Democrat

An evaluation of two online suicide prevention tools for men ages 35-64 will begin soon. Men in this age group account for the highest percentage of all suicides in the U.S., yet they are among the least likely to acknowledge that they have mental health problems and to seek services. To help address this problem, the CDC has provided a grant to the schools of social work at Florida State University (FSU) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) to evaluate an online screening tool recently developed by Screening for Mental Health. The project will evaluate the tool on its own and in combination with the online program Man Therapy, which encourages middle-aged men to seek help for mental health problems. “Preventing suicide among males in this age range requires innovative, evidence-based interventions and comprehensive programs,” said Philip J. Osteen, assistant professor in the FSU College of Social Work and the project’s principal investigator at FSU. The programs to be studied are tailored specifically to this population and address some of the gender-related issues that keep men from seeking and using behavioral health care. In addition, according to Jodi Jacobson Frey, associate professor at UMB and the project’s lead researcher, “The programs to be evaluated in this research directly target middle-aged men in places where they are most comfortable — at home, at work and online.”

Spark Extra! See Man Therapy, one of the tools to be evaluated.