Year: 2023 Source: Miliary Medicine. (2023). usad196, SIEC No: 20231375
Introduction Veteran suicide rates continue to be unacceptably high, with the most common risk factor being a past suicide attempt (SA). However, some characteristics of suicidal ideation (SI) and behavior among Veterans hospitalized for suicide risk remain under-reported. Materials and Methods One hundred and eighty-three Veterans hospitalized for either an SA or SI with intent were screened for enrollment in a treatment study to prevent suicide. Veterans completed a demographic form, the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale, and the McLean borderline personality disorder screening measure shortly after inpatient psychiatric admission. Chi-squared and t-tests were used to compare suicide characteristics (e.g., intensity, duration, deterrents, and controllability) between Veterans with and without a lifetime history of SA. Thematic analyses of the reported method of SI were conducted. Results Sixty-seven percent of participants were hospitalized for SI and 33% were hospitalized for SA. Twenty-one percent of Veterans hospitalized for SI also endorsed a recent SA in the weeks preceding hospitalization. Most participants reported at least one lifetime SA (71%). Veterans with a lifetime history of SA reported greater frequency and duration of ideation in the week before hospitalization (t[169] =  −2.56, P = .01; t[168] =  −2.04, P = .04) while also reporting that deterrents were less likely to prevent an SA (t[107.09] =  −3.58, P = .001) compared to those with no lifetime SA. Conclusion Overall, Veterans hospitalized for SI/SA demonstrated markers of chronic suicide risk, as most participants endorsed a past attempt in their lifetime. Some Veterans admitted for SI also reported a past month’s attempt, suggesting that in certain cases, hospitalization does not immediately follow an acute suicidal crisis. A past SA differentiated Veterans on average frequency and duration of SI as well as the perception of deterrents preventing suicidal behavior. Therefore, a thorough evaluation of suicide methods and intensity may be informative in treatment planning for Veterans at greatest risk of suicide.