The role of technology and the continuum of care for youth suicidality: Systematic review

Hannah Szlyk, Jia Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Youth suicide is a global public health issue, and using technology is one strategy to increase participation in preventive interventions. However, there is minimal knowledge on how technology-enhanced interventions for youth correspond to the stages of care, from illness or risk recognition to treatment follow-up. Objective: This systematic review aims to examine the efficacy of technology-enhanced youth suicide prevention and interventions across the continuum of care. Methods: Four electronic databases were searched up to spring 2019 for youth suicide preventive interventions that used technology. The review was not restricted by study design and eligible studies could report outcomes on suicidality or related behaviors, such as formal treatment initiation. An adapted version of the Methodological Quality Ratings Scale was used to assess study quality. Results: A total of 26 studies were identified. The findings support the emerging efficacy of technology-enhanced interventions, including a decline in suicidality and an increase in proactive behaviors. However, evidence suggests that there are gaps in the continuum of care and recent study samples do not represent the diverse identities of vulnerable youth. Conclusions: The majority of identified studies were conducted in school settings and were universal interventions that aligned with the illness and risk recognition and help-seeking stages of the continuum of care. This field could be strengthened by having future studies target the stages of assessment and treatment initiation, include diverse youth demographics, and examine the varying roles of providers and technological components in emerging interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere18672
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Continuum of care
  • Suicide prevention
  • Technology
  • Youth


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