An Interactive Web-Based Lethal Means Safety Decision Aid for Suicidal Adults (Lock to Live): Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

J Med Internet Res. 2020 Jan 29;22(1):e16253. doi: 10.2196/16253.


Background: Counseling to reduce access to lethal means such as firearms and medications is recommended for suicidal adults but does not routinely occur. We developed the Web-based Lock to Live (L2L) decision aid to help suicidal adults and their families choose options for safer home storage.

Objective: This study aimed to test the feasibility and acceptability of L2L among suicidal adults in emergency departments (EDs).

Methods: At 4 EDs, we enrolled participants (English-speaking, community-dwelling, suicidal adults) in a pilot randomized controlled trial. Participants were randomized in a 13:7 ratio to L2L or control (website with general suicide prevention information) groups and received a 1-week follow-up telephone call.

Results: Baseline characteristics were similar between the intervention (n=33) and control (n=16) groups. At baseline, many participants reported having access to firearms (33/49, 67%), medications (46/49, 94%), or both (29/49, 59%). Participants viewed L2L for a median of 6 min (IQR 4-10 min). L2L also had very high acceptability; almost all participants reported that they would recommend it to someone in the same situation, that the options felt realistic, and that L2L was respectful of values about firearms. In an exploratory analysis of this pilot trial, more participants in the L2L group reported reduced firearm access at follow-up, although the differences were not statistically significant.

Conclusions: The L2L decision aid appears feasible and acceptable for use among adults with suicide risk and may be a useful adjunct to lethal means counseling and other suicide prevention interventions. Future large-scale studies are needed to determine the effect on home access to lethal means.

Trial registration: NCT03478501;

Keywords: firearm; internet; medication; suicide.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Suicide Prevention*
  • Young Adult

Associated data