General Session Speakers

Utilization of Telemental Health for Suicide Prevention

15:05 PM April 16th
Sasha Rojas, PhD,Telehealth and Rural Outreach Fellow, VA Puget Sound, Seattle Division
Marilyn Piccirillo, M.A.,Psychology Intern, VA Puget Sound, Seattle Division
Erika Shearer, Ph.D.,Clinical Psychologist, VA Puget Sound, Seattle Division
Jean Kim, Ph.D., ClinicalPsychologist, VA Puget Sound, Seattle Division

The highest rates of suicide occur in rural and remote areaswhere individuals have limited access to specialized mental health services.1Despite advancements in expanding access to evidence-based mental healthtreatments via video based technology (e.g., Clinical Video Telehealth; CVT),there is limited work specific to addressing suicide risk. Most CVT studiesexclude individuals experiencing suicidal ideation or recent suicidal behavior.Considering the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a national leader in CVTefforts, we explored differences in suicidal behavior among Veterans receivingin-person or CVT mental health treatment. Suicide risk was indexed by a SuicideBehavior Report (SBR) at three time points: 6 months prior to first CVTappointment in 2017, during treatment in 2017, and 12 months following firstappointment in 2017). Fisher’s exact test and a discrete time survival analysisvia the Kaplan-Meier method were used to determine whether suicide riskdiffered as a function of telehealth status. Overall, results indicated thatsuicide risk does not differ among Veterans receiving CVT versus in-persontreatment. As such, clinical providers should be ready to attend to and provideevidence-based treatments for suicide risk via CVT. Clinical recommendationsand best practices for suicide prevention via CVT will be presented.
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