Barbara Stanley, Ph.D., Columbia University
Distinguished Investigator Grant (2008): $99,928
Safety Planning Intervention for Suicidal Individuals who Contact Crisis Centers
Abstract: This project will develop and test a safety planning manual for use in crisis centers with calls from suicidal individuals, in collaboration with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Crisis Center. Hotlines receive a significant portion of their calls from suicidal individuals and, in fact, for many of these callers, this is the only intervention they receive either due to their unwillingness to seek treatment or the unavailability of treatment. Therefore, maximizing the clinical utility of the hotline calls is of utmost importance. The principal investigator along with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline director will select two matched crisis centers to be included. One center will implement the safety planning intervention and the other will not, serving as the control. Outcome study measures will be obtained at both sites. Efficacy will be evaluated in several ways: perceived utility of the safety planning mechanism by crisis workers and callers; whether or not the plan was used in times of distress; and reduction in suicidal behavior. This intervention has great potential for immediate impact in the reduction of suicidality in a population that generally receives minimal treatment but is at high risk for suicide.