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Chaplaincy Encounters Following a Suicide Attempt.

Kopacz MS, Kane CP, Pigeon WR, Nieuwsma JA. Chaplaincy Encounters Following a Suicide Attempt. Journal of health care chaplaincy. 2017 Oct 1; 23(4):167-173.

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This descriptive study examines the provision of chaplaincy services to veterans who sought health care at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center following a suicide attempt. A system-wide VA database of suicidal behavior was used to identify a cohort of n = 22,701 veterans who survived a suicide attempt. Next, an electronic review of VA clinical records found that n = 7,447 (32.8%) received chaplaincy services in the 30 days following their attempt. Of this group, the overwhelming majority of first chaplaincy encounters took place in in-patient settings: n = 6890 (92.5%). First chaplaincy encounters most often occurred 1-7 days following the attempt: n = 5,033 (67.6%). Most chaplaincy service users had only one chaplaincy encounter: n = 3,514 (47.2%). The findings suggest that, at VA Medical Centers, a relatively sizeable percentage of suicide attempt survivors have contact with chaplaincy services. Additional research is needed to ascertain if chaplaincy services yield any therapeutic benefit for this group.

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