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The role of pain, functioning, and mental health in suicidality among Veterans Affairs primary care patients.
Magruder KM, Yeager D, Brawman-Mintzer O. The role of pain, functioning, and mental health in suicidality among Veterans Affairs primary care patients. American journal of public health. 2012 Mar 1; 102 Suppl 1:S118-24.
We examined suicidality, pain, functioning, and psychiatric disorders among veterans in primary care by using both self-report and clinical measures of pain and mental health to determine correlates that might be clinically useful in primary care settings.
Data were from 884 Veterans Affairs patients enrolled in a regional 4-site cross-sectional study. Patients were administered measures that assessed functioning (including pain) and psychiatric disorders. Data were merged with medical records for clinical pain indicators.
Overall, 9.1% (74 of 816) of patients indicated suicidal ideation, with those who were middle-aged, unemployed because of disability, had less than college education, and served in a warzone most likely to consider suicidality. Suicidal patients had worse functioning (measured by the Short Form-36) than did nonsuicidal patients in every domain, including bodily pain, and were more likely to meet criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis. However, when pain and mental health were jointly considered, only mental health (both psychiatric diagnosis and mental health functioning) was related to suicidality.
Although providers should be alert to the possibility of suicidality in patients with pain, they should be vigilant when patients have a psychiatric disorder or poor mental health.