Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2021), 51(4), 729-735. SIEC No: 20230031
Objective Suicide rates have been of increasing concern across the United States, particularly among military veterans. The Veterans Health Administration has initiated multiple suicide prevention initiatives, but little research has examined the impact of these programs. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that more frequent contact with suicide prevention clinicians would predict lower odds of suicidal behavior. Method Retrospective medical record review was performed for 1364 veterans identified as high risk for suicide during 2012–2018. Logistic regression was used to test whether the number of suicide prevention contacts predicted the odds of suicide attempt, any self-directed violence, or reactivation of high-risk status in the next year, accounting for age, sex, length of high-risk episode, and other mental health contacts. Results Each additional suicide prevention coordinator contact was associated with 4%–5% lower odds of suicide attempt, suicidal behavior, and reactivation of high-risk status in the next year (ps < 0.05). For suicide attempt and self-directed violence, associations were stronger when considering only initial high-risk episodes (8%–10% lower odds, ps < 0.05). Conclusions Findings suggest ongoing support from suicide prevention clinicians can have a significant protective effect. Additional research is needed to identify mechanisms by which this support reduces risk.