A positive mental imagery intervention for targeting suicidal ideation in university students: A pilot study

Hayley Knagg, Daniel Pratt, Peter J. Taylor, Jasper Palmier‐Claus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Suicide is a major public health concern and is now considered to be the leading cause of death in young people. Suicidal ideation within student populations have recently increased. The Broad Minded Affective Coping (BMAC) offers a brief psychological intervention targeting suicidal ideation by enabling access to competing positive emotions and thoughts using guided imagery. Its acceptability and feasibility in student populations are unclear.
Design: A single arm pilot study investigated the feasibility and acceptability of a six-session BMAC intervention for university students experiencing suicidal ideation.
Method: Recruitment took place from university counselling services. Suicidal ideation and emotional states were assessed at baseline and after six and 12-weeks. Participants also completed corresponding sessional measures.
Results: 12 eligible participants consented to take part with 11 receiving the intervention. Ten participants completed post treatment and follow up assessments. Retention to treatment was high with participants attending an average of 5.2 (87%; SD = 1.54) out of six intervention sessions. There were also good completion rates of the BMAC technique between sessions. Participants reported high levels of satisfaction with the intervention. There was an associated reduction across a range of clinical outcomes, including suicidal ideation, with large effect sizes.
Discussion: This pilot study showed promising results on the feasibility and acceptability of the BMAC intervention in students experiencing suicidal ideation. However, the study had a small sample size and no comparator control group. Further exploration of the BMAC intervention is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Psychology & Psychotherapy
Early online date5 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2022


  • student
  • therapy
  • suicide
  • broad-minded
  • imagery


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