Project Background

Patients who present to Emergency Departments after an intentional self-harm episode receive a variable standard of care in Ontario. Many are not assessed for psychological needs, and the little psychological therapy available is not usually covered by OHIP. This is especially poignant when consider the strong association between self-harm and suicide in that seven patients per 1,000 of patients die by suicide in the year after attending Emergency Departments with a non-fatal episode of self-harm, which represents 60 times the general population risk. This is risk is elevated in men, who are more likely to die by suicide than their female counterparts,

Study Summary

The Beacon Suicide Prevention in Men Research Study is a cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) designed to evaluate the use of problem-solving therapy (PST) supplemented by a smartphone application in men who present to Emergency Departments across Ontario with intentional self-harm. Rates of re-presentation for self-harm will then be compared at each Emergency Department, with the expectation that sites receiving the intervention will have lower re-presentation rates in the year following the intervention.

Study Intervention

25 Emergency Departments in Ontario have been randomized to one of the following treatment groups:

  1. Usual Care: referral for psychiatric care according to established pathways;
  2. BEACON Study Intervention Group: male patients who present to the Emergency Department will be offered:
  • Six free sessions of face-to-face problem-solving therapy (PST);
  • Access to a smartphone application developed specifically for men who self-harm;
  • A “booster” PST session at six months post-recruitment.

    Study Implementation

    Each study site that is randomized to receive smartphone-assisted PST will be activated by the research team according to the following procedure:

    1. Study sites will be approached by the study team to determine if they would be interested in participating in the study;
    2.  An information presentation will be held at each site;
    3. The Research Coordinator will complete all necessary submissions to the Research Ethics Board (REB), including obtaining all required institutional approvals;
    4. During this process, each site will be consulted regarding the clinical impact of the study to ensure as little disruptions as possible to current standard practices;
    5. Once REB approval has been received, the research team will conduct Site Initiation Visits (SIV) where all research and hospital staff will be appropriately trained on the study protocol (as needed).

    Thank you to our study partners

    Study Status

    Not yet launched

    Study Investigative Team

    Principal Investigator:
    Dr. Simon Hatcher

    Co-Principal Investigator:
    Dr. Marnin Heisel

    Dr. Ayal Schaffer
    Dr. Kednapa Thavorn
    Dr. Sakina Rizvi
    Dr. Ian Colman
    Dr. Mark Sinyor
    Dr. Sidney Kennedy
    Dr. Monica Taljaard
    Dr. Christian Vaillancourt
    Dr. Venkatesh Thiruganasambandamoorthy
    Dr. Daniel Corsi
    Dr. John Lavis
    Dr. Paul Links
    Dr. Chris Mushquash
    Dr. Peter Voros
    Megan Schellenberg
    Joey Organisciak
    Julie Kathleen Campbell
    Alicia Raimundo
    Alaaddin Sidahmed
    Susan Marlin
    Chris Wilkins

    Research Team:
    Valerie Testa
    Sarah MacLean
    Craig MacKie
    Nicole Dunn


    Ontario SPOR Support Unit (OSSU)

    ClinicalTrials.Gov Registration