Brief Interventions for Suicidal Individuals Not Engaged in Treatment
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Non-treatment engaged individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts have been largely overlooked in the intervention literature, despite reviews suggesting that the majority of individuals who die by suicide were not in treatment immediately prior to their death. These individuals clearly represent a group in need of additional empirical attention. An intervention has been developed with these individuals in mind and involves a brief, one-time intervention wherein participants are presented with a selection of emotion regulation and distress tolerance skills from the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills training curriculum (Ward-Ciesielski, 2013). This DBT brief suicide intervention (DBT-BSI) has been shown to have promise as an intervention to reduce suicidal ideation, but has yet to be rigorously tested with a control condition. The aims of the present study were 1) to compare evaluate the safety of the DBT-BSI relative to a relaxation training (RT) control condition for adults not engaged in mental health treatment with respect to potential adverse events on participants, 2) to assess the feasibility of the research methodology, and 3) to preliminarily estimate the immediate and long-term degree of change and variability of response to DBT-BSI relative to RT on the primary outcomes of suicidal ideation, emotion dysregulation, and skills use as well as a number of secondary outcomes (e.g., depression, anxiety). The study was a randomized controlled trial of two one-session interventions and three follow-up interviews over three months conducted from 2012-2013. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the two conditions and outcome assessors were blind to study condition assignment. Suicidal ideation, depression severity, and anxiety severity all significantly improved during the follow-up period; however, there were no significant differences between conditions and skills use and emotion dysregulation did not significantly change over time for either condition. The implications of these findings are discussed.
- Psychology