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Veterans Crisis Line Call Outcomes: Distress, Suicidal Ideation, and Suicidal Urgency

  • Peter C. Britton
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Peter C. Britton, PhD, Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention, VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System, 400 Fort Hill Avenue, Canandaigua NY 14607.
    Affiliations
    Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention, VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System, Canandaigua, New York

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York
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  • Elizabeth Karras
    Affiliations
    Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention, VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System, Canandaigua, New York

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York
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  • Tracy Stecker
    Affiliations
    Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention, VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System, Canandaigua, New York

    College of Nursing, MUSC Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina
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  • John Klein
    Affiliations
    Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention, VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System, Canandaigua, New York
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  • Dev Crasta
    Affiliations
    Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention, VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System, Canandaigua, New York

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York
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  • Lisa A. Brenner
    Affiliations
    Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention, Denver, Colorado

    Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Denver, Colorado
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  • Wilfred R. Pigeon
    Affiliations
    Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention, VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System, Canandaigua, New York

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York
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      Introduction

      This study evaluates the effectiveness of the Veterans Crisis Line on immediate call outcomes (i.e., caller distress, suicidal ideation, and suicidal urgency) for veterans who provide identifying information.

      Methods

      Coders rated pre- and post-distress, suicidal ideation, and suicidal urgency for 647 calls from 2019 veteran callers. Intraclass correlation coefficients examined inter-rater reliability. Multilevel generalized linear modeling examined pre–post changes.

      Results

      Inter-rater reliability was good for distress, excellent for suicidal ideation, and fair for urgency. Callers had 5 times greater odds of a reduction in distress (AOR=5.03, 95% CI=3.98, 6.49), almost 5 times greater odds of a reduction in suicidal ideation (AOR=4.92, 95% CI=3.49, 6.94), and 11 times greater odds of a reduction in suicidal urgency (AOR=11.01, 95% CI=2.72, 44.50) at the end of calls than at the beginning.

      Conclusions

      Veterans Crisis Line callers who provide identifying information experience reductions in distress and suicidal ideation during the call. Research is needed to examine the reduction in suicidal urgency because of fair reliability, generalizability of results to other callers, post-call treatment contact and engagement, and risk for suicide attempts and death.
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