I think I posted an article once before where it was mentioned that delaying the ability of people to impulsively make a suicide attempt can work - hence a barrier on bridge that might not be impenetrable, but just make it more difficult to climb over, may prevent a lot of attempts. This program just takes that approach, it seems:
The intervention studied by Stanley and her group starts in the ER or a clinic, before the suicidal patient is released. First, a health care professional talks with the patient and tries to understand that person's warning signs for a suicide attempt.
"If they've grappled with being suicidal, they know what their warning signs are," says Stanley. For example, she says, someone might say, "'I find that I'm staying in my room, not answering the phone, not answering texts, not answering emails.' That could be a warning sign." Others might have repeated thoughts that they're not worthy.
The next step is for the patient — with help from the clinician — to come up with a set of coping strategies to help get through moments of intense suicidal ideation.
For most people, this intense state lasts only from between a few minutes to a couple of hours, she says.
The coping strategy could be something as simple as playing video games, watching TV or talking to a loved one.
If people contemplating suicide can distract themselves with something they enjoy doing, they can bypass that narrow window during which suicidal thoughts can overpower them, notes Stanley. "For suicidal people, the passage of time is their friend," she says.