Online Focus Group

The purpose of this study is to design an a 4-week automated safety planning text messaging (a.k.a. SMS) platform that delivers short messages to help young adults between the ages of 18* and 24 create a safety plan and connect them to resources they might find useful. A safety plan is a document that includes highly personalized reminders, tips, and strategies that can help people cope effectively with suicidal thoughts.

This study aims to better understand the experiences, preferences, needs, and opinions about technologies for managing suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This study is specifically for young adults who have experience with suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

* Note: Depending on which state you reside in, the age to consent to research may be 19 years of age.

Study participation would last approximately 24 days. If enrolled, you will be asked to:

  • Respond to research questions posted online in the focus group every 2-3 days.
  • Respond to other participants’ posts in the focus group in a way that moves the discussion along.
  • Have an up to 50% chance of being selected for a follow-up interview following the online focus group.
  • Stay in touch with study staff by phone, text, email and/or direct message.

Eligible participants may be compensated up to $80 via an Amazon gift card for answering questions in the online focus group, responding to other participants’ posts, completing the study survey, and completing follow-up interview.

This study is for individuals:

  • Who are US Residents
  • Who are 18-24 years old*
    • *participants who reside in Nebraska must be at least 19 years old
  • Have recent experience with suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
  • Own a smartphone

If one or more of the criteria described above are not met, you will not be eligible to participate in the current study.

Begin our online screener today to start the process of finding out if you are eligible to participate (click here).

For any immediate questions or concerns, please contact the study team:

PI: Jonah Meyerhoff, PhD
Study Contact: Sarah Popowski
Email: or
Call: 312-503-6576

This study (STU00217191) has been approved by the Northwestern University Institutional Review Board.

Need to talk to someone?

If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency such as serious thoughts or plans to end your own life or the life of anyone else, please call or text the national suicide prevention lifeline at 9-8-8.

If you are in crisis, or want to talk with a crisis worker after hours, please call or use the following continuously (24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 365 days/year) staffed resources:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

The Crisis Text Line:

  • Send an SMS/Text containing the word ‘home’ to 741-741

The Trevor Project:

The Trans Lifeline:

  • 1-877-565-8860

Warmlines can also be a great support resource, most are free, confidential, and many are 24/7. A list of warmlines can be found here:

Follow the links below to learn about national resources for locating mental health treatment:

Click here to begin our online screener today to start the process of finding out if you are eligible to participate.