- Brandi Roelk, PhD, Clinical Research Program Director/Psychologist, Center for Integrated Healthcare/Syracuse VAMC, Syracuse, NY
- Jennifer Funderburk, PhD, Clinical Research Psychologist, VA Center for Integrated Healthcare, Syracuse, NY
Approximately 17 Veterans a day die by from suicide, and rural-residing Veterans are 20% more likely to die by suicide than Veterans living in urban locations. As primary care settings are more likely to see patients prior to suicide and are the only places rural residents typically can access, primary care team members, including behavioral health consultants, need to have greater awareness and skills in suicide prevention. Prior research has shown that rural providers face several barriers in terms of suicide assessment and prevention including inadequate training, stigma, and lack of resources. This workshop is designed to provide attendees with knowledge and skills to increase confidence in providing care to rural primary care patients with suicidal ideation, with an emphasis on those who are Veterans. Participants will learn about unique suicide risk factors that prior research has found relevant to both Veteran and rural populations, such geographic isolation, and socioeconomic factors. They will also learn innovative practical strategies (e.g., useful metaphors, ways to structure questions) to talk about suicide and access to lethal means in a patient-centered way. Then, participants will be given the opportunity to practice these skills with peers while experts provide consultation and feedback to assist the learning process and ensure that they walk away with new skills for their next day in clinical practice.
- Identify suicide risk factors for Veterans residing in rural areas.
- Exercise confidence in assessing for lethal means.
- Gain knowledge in suicide prevention strategies that can be used in rural integrated care clinics.