Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 192–194 | Cite as

Health Coaching to Enhance Psychological Well-being Among Veterans with Suicidal Ideation: a Pilot Study

  • Lauren M. DennesonEmail author
  • Amira Y. Trevino
  • Emily A. Kenyon
  • Sarah S. Ono
  • Paul N. Pfeiffer
  • Steven K. Dobscha
Concise Research Reports


According to Veterans Affairs (VA) surveillance data, veterans are approximately twice as likely to die by suicide than civilians, and the importance of developing effective suicide prevention strategies for primary care settings is well known.1 Psychological well-being (comprising purpose in life, autonomy, personal growth, positive relations with others, environmental mastery, and self-acceptance)2 can buffer against a range of adverse experiences. Some research has shown that psychological well-being protects against suicidal ideation and behavior among people with mental health symptoms.3 No evidence-based interventions exist that specifically aim to increase psychological well-being among veterans at risk for suicide.

Health coaching is a patient-centered modality that focuses on personal goals, values, and strengths to facilitate well-being.4Health coaching has not been studied among those at increased risk for suicide. In this single-arm, mixed-methods pilot...


suicide self-care primary health care patient-centered care veterans 



This material is based upon work supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention project PRG-0-027-15.


Study methods were approved by the VA Portland Health Care System institutional review board.


Preliminary findings from this manuscript were presented at the International Academy of Suicide Research/American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s International Summit on Suicide Research in November 2017. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs or US government.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine (This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauren M. Denneson
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Amira Y. Trevino
    • 1
    • 2
  • Emily A. Kenyon
    • 1
  • Sarah S. Ono
    • 1
    • 3
  • Paul N. Pfeiffer
    • 4
    • 5
  • Steven K. Dobscha
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC)VA Portland Health Care SystemPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family MedicineOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  5. 5.VA Center for Clinical Management ResearchVA Ann ArborAnn ArborUSA

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