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1.  Barriers, facilitators, and benefits of implementation of dialectical behavior therapy in routine care: results from a national program evaluation survey in the Veterans Health Administration 
National implementation of evidence-based psychotherapies (EBPs) in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides important lessons on the barriers and facilitators to implementation in a large healthcare system. Little is known about barriers and facilitators to the implementation of a complex EBP for emotional and behavioral dysregulation—dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). The purpose of this study was to understand VHA clinicians’ experiences with barriers, facilitators, and benefits from implementing DBT into routine care. This national program evaluation survey measured site characteristics of VHA sites (N = 59) that had implemented DBT. DBT was most often implemented in general mental health outpatient clinics. While 42% of sites offered all four modes of DBT, skills group was the most frequently implemented mode. Fifty-nine percent of sites offered phone coaching in any form, yet only 11% of those offered it all the time. Providers were often provided little to no time to support implementation of DBT. Barriers that were difficult to overcome were related to phone coaching outside of business hours. Facilitators to implementation included staff interest and expertise. Perceived benefits included increased hope and functioning for clients, greater self-efficacy and compassion for providers, and ability to treat unique symptoms for clinics. There was considerable variability in the capacity to address implementation barriers among sites implementing DBT in VHA routine care. Mental health policy makers should note the barriers and facilitators reported here, with specific attention to phone coaching barriers.
doi:10.1007/s13142-017-0465-5
PMCID: PMC5684063  PMID: 28168608
US Department of Veterans Affairs; Dialectical behavior therapy; Implementation; Barriers; Phone coaching
2.  VA Suicide Prevention Applications Network 
Public Health Reports  2016;131(6):816-821.
Objectives:
The US Department of Veterans Affairs’ Suicide Prevention Applications Network (SPAN) is a national system for suicide event tracking and case management. The objective of this study was to assess data on suicide attempts among people using Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services.
Methods:
We assessed the degree of data overlap on suicide attempters reported in SPAN and the VHA’s medical records from October 1, 2010, to September 30, 2014—overall, by year, and by region. Data on suicide attempters in the VHA’s medical records consisted of diagnoses documented with E95 codes from the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision.
Results:
Of 50 518 VHA patients who attempted suicide during the 4-year study period, data on fewer than half (41%) were reported in both SPAN and the medical records; nearly 65% of patients whose suicide attempt was recorded in SPAN had no data on attempted suicide in the VHA’s medical records.
Conclusion:
Evaluation of administrative data suggests that use of SPAN substantially increases the collection of data on suicide attempters as compared with the use of medical records alone, but neither SPAN nor the VHA’s medical records identify all suicide attempters. Further research is needed to better understand the strengths and limitations of both systems and how to best combine information across systems.
doi:10.1177/0033354916670133
PMCID: PMC5230828  PMID: 28123228
veterans; suicide; prevention
3.  Influences on call outcomes among Veteran callers to the National Veterans Crisis Line 
This evaluation examined the association of caller and call characteristics with proximal outcomes of Veterans Crisis Line calls. From October 1-7, 2010, 665 Veterans with recent suicidal ideation or a history of attempted suicide called the Veterans Crisis Line, 646 had complete data and were included in the analyses. A multivariable multinomial logistic regression was conducted to identify correlates of a favorable outcome, either a resolution or a referral, when compared to an unfavorable outcome, no resolution or referral. A multivariable logistic regression was used to identify correlates of responder-rated caller risk in a subset of calls. Approximately 84% of calls ended with a favorable outcome, 25% with a resolution and 59% with a referral to a local health care provider. Calls from high-risk callers had greater odds of ending with a referral than without a resolution or referral, as did weekday calls (6:00 am to 5:59 pm EST, Monday through Friday). Responders used caller intent to die and the absence of future plans to determine caller risk. Findings suggest that the Veterans Crisis Line is a useful mechanism for generating referrals for high-risk Veteran callers. Responders appeared to use known risk and protective factors to determine caller risk.
doi:10.1111/sltb.12033
PMCID: PMC5064431  PMID: 23611446
4.  Associations Between the Department of Veterans Affairs' Suicide Prevention Campaign and Calls to Related Crisis Lines 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(6):516-525.
Objective
The Transit Authority Suicide Prevention (TASP) campaign was launched by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in a limited number of U.S. cities to promote the use of crisis lines among veterans of military service.
Methods
We obtained the daily number of calls to the VCL and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) for six implementation cities (where the campaign was active) and four control cities (where there was no TASP campaign messaging) for a 14-month period. To identify changes in call volume associated with campaign implementation, VCL and NSPL daily call counts for three time periods of equal length (pre-campaign, during campaign, and post-campaign) were modeled using a Poisson log-linear regression with inference based on the generalized estimating equations.
Results
Statistically significant increases in calls to both the VCL and the NSPL were reported during the TASP campaign in implementation cities, but were not reported in control cities during or following the campaign. Secondary outcome measures were also reported for the VCL and included the percentage of callers who are veterans, and calls resulting in a rescue during the study period.
Conclusions
Results from this study reveal some promise for suicide prevention messaging to promote the use of telephone crisis services and contribute to an emerging area of research examining the effects of campaigns on help seeking.
PMCID: PMC4187294  PMID: 25364053
5.  Age-Related Concerns of Male Veteran Callers to a Suicide Crisis Line 
In July 2007, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) to create the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) in order to meet the unique needs of Veterans in distress. The current study utilized a mixed methods design to examine characteristics of male callers to the VCL. Results from qualitative analyses demonstrated that the majority of callers between April 1 and August 31, 2008 contacted the VCL with concerns related to mental health issues, suicide ideation, and substance abuse issues. Quantitative analyses demonstrated age differences associated with concerns presented by callers such that middle-aged and older callers were more likely to present with loneliness and younger callers were more likely to present with mental health concerns. The results of this study will help to inform future research designed to optimize the effectiveness of the VCL for suicide prevention in Veterans.
doi:10.1080/13811118.2013.824842
PMCID: PMC4386687  PMID: 24810270
suicide; veterans; crisis line; hotline
6.  Evaluation of a suicide prevention training curriculum for substance abuse treatment providers based on Treatment Improvement Protocol Number 50 (TIP 50) 
Substance use disorders (SUD) confer risk for suicide yet there are no empirically supported suicide prevention training curricula tailored to SUD treatment providers. We assessed the efficacy of a 2-hour training that featured a suicide prevention training video produced by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The video was based on Treatment Improvement Protocol Number 50, TIP 50, a practical manual to manage suicide risk produced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The training was provided in small groups to 273 SUD treatment providers in 18 states. Results were evaluated using self-report assessments obtained at pre-test, post-test, and 2-month follow-up. Statistically significant changes (p<.001) within subjects were obtained on self-efficacy, knowledge, and frequency of suicide prevention practice behaviors. The positive results together with the brevity of the training and its ease of implementation indicate high potential for widespread adoption and the importance of further study.
doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2012.01.008
PMCID: PMC3640862  PMID: 22417671
suicide; Veteran; substance abuse; training; evaluation

Results 1-6 (6)