Development of a suicide prevention toolkit for VA home-based primary care teams
Minac, M.E., Smith, R.W., Siffert, K.J., Richter, L.C., Steadman-Wood, P.L., & Wetherell, J.L.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Home-Based Primary Care program (HBPC) serves Veterans with multiple comorbid physical and psychological conditions that can increase suicide risk. HBPC teams are uniquely able to implement suicide risk assessment and prevention practices, and the team’s mental health provider often trains other team members. An online suicide prevention toolkit was developed for HBPC mental health providers and their teams as part of a quality improvement project. Toolkit development was guided by a needs assessment consisting of first focus group and then data from surveys of HBPC program directors (n = 53) and HBPC mental health providers (n = 56). Needs identified by both groups included training specific to the HBPC patient population and more resources if mental health needs could not be fully managed by the HBPC team. HBPC mental health providers within integrated care teams play a key role in clinical intervention, policy development, and interprofessional team education on suicide prevention. HBPC teams have specific learning and support needs around suicide prevention that can be addressed with a feasible, easily accessible clinical and training resource.