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Ilgen MA, Price AM, Coughlin LN, Pfeiffer PN, Stewart HJ, Pope E, Britton PC. Encouraging the use of the Veterans Crisis Line among high-risk Veterans: A randomized trial of a Crisis Line Facilitation intervention. Journal of psychiatric research. 2022 Oct 1; 154:159-166.
The Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) is a core component of VA''s suicide prevention strategy. Despite the availability and utility of the VCL, many Veterans do not utilize this resource during times of crisis. A brief, psychoeducational behavioral intervention (termed Crisis Line Facilitation [CLF]) was developed to increase utilization of the VCL and reduce suicidal behaviors in high-risk Veterans. The therapist-led session includes educational information regarding the VCL, as well as a chance to discuss the participant''s perceptions of contacting the VCL during periods of crisis. The final component of the session is a practice call placed to the VCL by both the therapist and the participant. The CLF intervention was compared to Enhanced Usual Care (EUC) during a multi-site randomized clinical trial for 307 Veteran participants recently hospitalized for a suicidal crisis who reported no contact with the VCL in the prior 12 months. Initial analyses indicated that participants randomized to the CLF intervention were less likely to report suicidal behaviors, including suicide attempts compared to participants randomized to receive EUC over 12-months of follow-up (? < sup > 2 < /sup > = 18.48/p andlt; 0.0001), however this effect was not sustained when analyses were conducted on an individual level. No significant differences were found between conditions on VCL utilization. Initial evidence suggests a brief CLF intervention has an impact on preventing suicidal behaviors in Veterans treated in inpatient mental health programs; however, it may not change use of the VCL. This brief intervention could be easily adapted into clinical settings to be delivered by standard clinical staff.