Removing Barriers to Treatment: Evaluation of a Youth Suicide Prevention Program

Franci Crepeau-Hobson, James Estes

Abstract


This study examined the effectiveness of a suicide prevention program that provides free and accessible counseling services to suicidal youth. Children and adolescents who underwent a suicide risk assessment at a Colorado school (n = 99) were referred for counseling through the Second Wind Fund (SWF), a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of youth suicide. Each of these clients presented with at least 1 barrier to treatment such as no or inadequate insurance or lack of transportation. Through SWF, clients received up to 12 counseling sessions at no charge. Clients ranged from 8 to 18 years of age. Of the 99 clients, 93 completed the Suicide Ideation Questionnaire-Junior (SIQ-Jr) at the beginning and end of treatment. Results indicated that SIQ-Jr scores were significantly lower at the end of treatment. Follow-up surveys were sent to referral sources at the end of the subsequent school year to examine longer-term effectiveness of SWF services. The majority of clients did not require any additional intervention and none went on to die by suicide. Study results indicate that the removal of financial and social barriers can increase access to and participation in treatment and reduce suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Implications for practice, including suicide risk assessment and outside referrals are discussed.


Keywords


youth suicide; suicide treatment; barriers to treatment

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2019.731

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