Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New Intervention for Suicide Attempters Can Facilitate Engagement in Treatment

A new intervention for people who attempt suicide that focuses on bedside problem solving in the emergency department and follow-up contact after leaving the hospital, may enhance engagement in outpatient treatment and reduce risk of future suicidal behavior. The Problem-Solving and Comprehensive Contact Intervention (PS-CCI) is a novel, manual-based intervention for adults presenting to the emergency department for treatment of suicidal ideation or suicide attempts. The intervention is described by Dana Alonzo, Ph.D., and Barbara Stanley, Ph.D., of Columbia University in a “Frontline Reports” column appearing online in Psychiatric Services May 1.

The strategy includes a problem-solving interview at the bedside that entails identifying and addressing anticipated barriers to treatment, elucidating and correcting misconceptions about outpatient treatment, and encouraging the patient to participate in outpatient treatment. After discharge, individuals receive a phone call and postcard reminder during the week of their first outpatient appointment and a monthly phone call for three consecutive months thereafter; the calls are used to assess factors that have contributed to the patient’s adherence or nonadherence to outpatient treatment.

“The interactive, personalized aspect of PS-CCI may resonate more concretely with clients than a nonspecific approach in which reasons to refrain from suicidal actions or for engaging in treatment are provided to clients rather than generated by them,” the authors said.

The report is online here. Information about diagnosing and treating suicidal thoughts and behaviors is available in American Psychiatric Publishing's Preventing Patient Suicide: Clinical Assessment and Management. For more on this topic, see Psychiatric News here.



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