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With Depression, Vets Face Higher Suicide Risk
Date:1/12/2009

results indicate that there are readily identifiable high-risk periods following specific events, such as being discharged from an inpatient psychiatric stay or starting a new antidepressant medication, and contrary to previously held notions, that these risk periods are not just for younger patients," Rego said.

In addition, the finding that suicide risk is highest in the first 12 weeks after discharge from a psychiatric hospitalization calls into question current policies that require minimal contact after a patient has been discharged, Rego said.

"The data from this study would suggest that the current monitoring is neither intense enough nor long enough in duration, and that the best use of our mental health resources would be to target efforts at frequent reassessment of suicide risk, offering of support, and establishing a connection to outpatient services during the entire 12-week period after discharge from a psychiatric hospitalization," Rego said.

More information

For more on suicide, visit the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.



SOURCES: Marcia Valenstein, M.D., clinical psychiatrist, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, and associate professor of psychiatry, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Simon Rego, Psy.D., associate director of psychology training, Montefiore Medical Center, and assistant professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; January 2009, Journal of Affective Disorders


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