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Strategies for Suicide Prevention in Veterans

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Strategies for Suicide Prevention in Veterans

Investigators: Paul Shekelle, MD, PhD, Steven Bagley, MD, MS, and Brett Munjas, BA.

Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Healthcare System/Southern California/RAND Evidence-based Practice Center

Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; January 2009.

Download PDF: Complete Report, Executive Summary, Report, Appendices

Summary / Overview

Suicide is a devastating outcome of major public health importance. Suicide rates for patients abusing alcohol and other substances, or suffering from other mental health conditions may be elevated. Because suicide prevention is a priority of the Veterans Health Administration, the VA wishes to expand and enhance use of evidence-based prevention or reduction methods.

The key questions addressed were:

  1. What are the new or improved suicide prevention strategies (e.g. hotlines, outreach programs, peer counseling, treatment coordination programs, and new counseling approaches) that show promise for Veterans?
  2. What solid evidence base supports the most promising strategies?
  3. What evidence is still needed to establish various strategies as the most promising (framed as research questions to guide and focus continued research to expand knowledge regarding the effectiveness of suicide prevention approaches)?