Health Services Research & Development

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Ecker AH, Johnson AL, Sansgiry S, Fletcher TL, Hundt N, Petersen NJ, Sweeney AC, Chaison AD, York-Ward KM, Kauth MR, Kunik ME, Cully JA. Brief cognitive behavioral therapy reduces suicidal ideation in veterans with chronic illnesses. General hospital psychiatry. 2019 May 1; 58:27-32.
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Abstract: OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the effect of brief cognitive behavioral therapy (bCBT) on suicidal ideation among medically ill veterans receiving mental health treatment in primary care. METHODS: Secondary analysis was conducted on data collected during a multisite, patient-randomized trial investigating the impact of bCBT (n = 180) on depression and anxiety symptoms, relative to enhanced usual care (EUC; n = 122), in patients with congestive heart failure and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. BCBT was delivered by primary care mental health providers over 4 months, with follow-up posttreatment assessments of suicidal ideation, measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (item 9) at 4, 8, and 12 months. Suicidal ideation was the primary outcome examined in the current analysis. Generalized estimating equations modeling suicidal ideation were used to compare the study arms. RESULTS: Participants receiving bCBT were less likely to have high suicidal ideation than participants receiving EUC posttreatment and at 8-month follow-up after accounting for baseline suicidal ideation. Within-group comparisons suggest participants receiving bCBT were less likely to have high suicidal ideation at 4, 8, and 12 months when compared with baseline. High suicidal ideation for EUC participants did not differ at 4, or 8 months, but they were less likely to have high suicidal ideation at 12 months. CONCLUSION: bCBT in primary care reduces suicidal ideation and may help prevent future suicidal ideation.