HSR&D Citation Abstract
Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title
Gender Differences in Connecting Veterans to Care Through the Veterans Crisis Line: A Mixed Methods Evaluation of Referrals to Suicide Prevention Coordinators.
Krishnamurti LS, Agha A, Denneson LM, Montgomery AE, Chhatre S, Dichter ME. Gender Differences in Connecting Veterans to Care Through the Veterans Crisis Line: A Mixed Methods Evaluation of Referrals to Suicide Prevention Coordinators. Medical care. 2023 Jan 1; 61(1):50-53.
Suicide is a major public health crisis within the US military veteran community, with distinct gender differences in suicide risk and behavior. The Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) is a component of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) suicide prevention program; through VCL, veterans may be referred to a VHA Suicide Prevention Coordinator (SPC) to arrange follow-up care. Research shows that engagement with an SPC is a strong protective factor in reducing veteran suicide risk.
We evaluated SPC referral acceptance and assessed correlates of SPC referral decline using VCL administrative data for contacts: (1) made between January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2019; (2) by veterans contacting VCL on their own behalf; (3) with gender identified; and (4) current thoughts of suicide. Then, among a subsample of 200 veterans, evenly distributed by gender, we examined data from call synopsis notes to identify reasons given for veterans declining an SPC referral.
We found it was generally callers rated as lower risk by responders, and callers with loneliness as a reason for contacting VCL, who more frequently declined the SPC referral. An analysis of reasons given for declining SPC referral found that concerns with/about Veterans Affairs care were a key concern, particularly among women veterans articulating specific negative care experiences. Other reasons for referral decline included managing the veteran''s needs directly on the call or via alternative resources.
The VCL as an intervention provides an important opportunity to re-engage vulnerable veterans into care, one that may be more challenging for women veterans.