Implementation of a Suicide Nomenclature within Two VA Healthcare Settings
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- Brenner, L.A., Breshears, R.E., Betthauser, L.M. et al. J Clin Psychol Med Settings (2011) 18: 116. doi:10.1007/s10880-011-9240-9
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Suicide and suicide attempts are significant issues for military, Veterans Affairs (VA), and civilian healthcare systems. The lack of uniform terms related to self-directed violence (SDV) has inhibited epidemiological surveillance efforts, limited the generalizability of empirical studies of suicide and non-lethal forms of SDV, and complicated the implementation of evidence-based assessment and treatment strategies for individuals with suicidal thoughts and/or behaviors. The Department of Veterans Affairs recently adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) SDV Classification System (SDVCS). This paper describes an implementation study of the SDVCS in two VA Medical Centers. The Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 19 Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) training program for the SDVCS, including the SDVCS Clinical Tool (CT), will be discussed. Although preliminary data suggest that the CT and SDVCS are generally perceived as being acceptable and useful, further work will likely be required to facilitate widespread adoption. Potential next steps in this process are presented.