This video-based resource was launched in 2014 by a research team led by Ursula Whiteside, PhD, who was then a postdoctoral fellow at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (previously known as Group Health Research Institute).
The website includes videos of people who have survived suicidal crises by using strategies such as mindfulness, opposite action, and paced-breathing — all central components of dialectical behavior therapy. DBT is a well-studied therapy shown to reduce suicide attempts and self-injury, but it is expensive and can be hard to access.
"We set out to build a free resource that was built with not only science, but also with the voices and stories of people who had experienced suicidal thoughts,” says Whiteside, who is now a clinical psychologist and research scientist at the University of Washington. “We wanted clinicians to feel empowered to help those who were struggling. And, moreover, we wanted suicidal people to have exposure to DBT skills even if they didn’t have the resources or money.”
From 2016 to September 2021, Now Matters Now had nearly 400,000 unique visitors and connected more than 20,000 people to immediate person-to-person crisis help. The resource continues to expand, most recently adding a Young Ambassadors section, which features videos from young people who have coped with suicidal thoughts.
“The goal of NowMattersNow.org is to provide help from the perspective of those who’ve experienced intense emotional pain — and make it about ‘us’ instead of ‘you,’” says Julie Richards, PhD, MPH, a research associate at KPWHRI who helped launch the website and continues to be part of the Now Matters Now team. “We are incredibly lucky to have worked with a group of brave, articulate mental health consumers who had experienced suicidality and were willing to help teach how we can help ourselves manage the most painful moments of our lives.”
Adds Whiteside, "The need is immense, the pain is palpable. I have to just keep looking forward. We’ve got so much work to do and I see a clear pathway to change."
Julie Richards, PhD, MPH, just published the first paper from a Kaiser Permanente program on firearm injury prevention.