Helen Christensen

Helen Christensen

Professor Helen Christensen is Director & Chief Scientist of the Black Dog Institute at the University of New South Wales.


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Using digital and e-health technologies to improve suicide prevention

Suicide prevention requires the adoption of multi-modal, comprehensive and integrated approaches.

Recognising the need for scale and reach, digital technologies, such as websites, apps and sensors have been employed by suicide prevention agencies to assist in suicide prevention. Scientific studies of the effectiveness of these interventions is emerging. In this keynote, the potential domains for the use of these technologies are identified: schools; workplaces; public online environments; primary care/healthcare settings; means restriction; and crisis and aftercare.

Examples of the effectiveness of these interventions are described, with a focus on clinical treatment applications, using data from recent randomised controlled trials from the Black Dog Institute, and research trials from other

leading centres. There is more replication required, and more comprehensive consumer informed research to be undertaken. However, these technologies are rapidly expanding ahead of research effectiveness, but, nevertheless have potential to be used as part of larger integrated suicide prevention approaches.

Short Bio

She is an international leader in the use of technology to both detect poor mental health and to deliver quality evidence-based therapies. Her current research focuses on the effective integration of websites, apps, sensors, social media and Smartphone tools into large-scale prevention and intervention programs for anxiety, depression and suicide.

Prof Christensen has authored over 500 refereed journal articles, seven consumer books and three open access websites. Prof Christensen is also a vocal advocate for evidence informed policy to improve universal access to quality mental health care.