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Women Veterans' Perspectives on Suicide Prevention in Reproductive Health Care Settings: An Acceptable, Desired, Unmet Opportunity.

Hoffmire CA, Brenner LA, Katon J, Gaeddert LA, Miller CN, Schneider AL, Monteith LL. Women Veterans' Perspectives on Suicide Prevention in Reproductive Health Care Settings: An Acceptable, Desired, Unmet Opportunity. Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. 2022 Jul 1; 32(4):418-425.

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BACKGROUND: Women veterans of reproductive age experience a suicide rate more than double their civilian peers. Developing effective suicide prevention strategies for women veterans requires identifying settings frequented by women veterans where acceptable prevention initiatives can be implemented. Reproductive health care (RHC) settings may provide such an opportunity. METHODS: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 21 cisgender women veterans of reproductive age using RHC services provided or paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to understand their beliefs, attitudes, and preferences regarding suicide risk assessment and prevention within these settings. Interview analysis was inductive and used a thematic analysis framework. RESULTS: Four major themes emerged from the interviews: 1) positive patient-provider relationships in RHC settings are important; 2) some women veterans prefer women providers for RHC and suicide risk screening; 3) women veterans'' experiences with VA suicide risk screening and assessment vary; and 4) suicide risk screening and prevention in RHC settings is a desired and acceptable, yet unmet opportunity. CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this novel study suggest that VA RHC settings may present a viable milieu for implementing upstream, gender-sensitive, veteran-centric suicide prevention strategies. Future research is needed with VA RHC providers to determine their needs for successfully implementing such strategies.

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