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U-M Health Minute: Today's Top Health Issues and Medical Research
Date:1/5/2009

eed for very close follow-up for patients who are discharged from our inpatient services because this is a particularly vulnerable time for them," says Valenstein, a core investigator with the Serious Mental Illness Treatment Research and Evaluation Center at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Current government recommendations have focused on providing intensive follow up for patients following all new antidepressant starts. More attention needs to be paid to the highest-risk periods that follow psychiatric hospitalization, Valenstein says. "Health systems with limited resources should focus their efforts on this time period to have the greatest impact on suicide prevention."

The Department of Veterans Affairs has made mental health issues a priority, Valenstein notes. VA health centers have received more than $300 million for expansion of suicide prevention and other mental health services from the Veterans Health Administration.

Note: The views expressed in the study are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Authors: In addition to Valenstein, authors of the paper were Hyungjin Myra Kim, Dara Ganoczy, John F. McCarthy, Kara Zivin, Karen L. Austin, Katherine Hoggatt, Daniel Eisenberg, John D. Piette and Frederic C. Blow, all with affiliations at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, the University of Michigan Medical School, and/or the University of Michigan School of Public Health; and Mark Olfson of Columbia University.

Funding: The research was supported by grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Services Research and Development Service, and the National Institute of Mental Health. Resources also were contributed by the Serious Mental Illness Treatment Research and Evaluation Center, Ann Arbor, Mich. The sponsors provided funding but otherwise were not i
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