Objective: To describe the elements of a manual-based cognitive-behavioral therapy for suicide prevention (CBT-SP) and to report its feasibility in preventing the recurrence of suicidal behavior in adolescents who have recently attempted suicide.
Method: The CBT-SP was developed using a risk reduction and relapse prevention approach and theoretically grounded in principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and targeted therapies for suicidal youths with depression. The CBT-SP consists of acute and continuation phases, each lasting about 12 sessions, and includes a chain analysis of the suicidal event, safety plan development, skill building, psychoeducation, family intervention, and relapse prevention.
Results: The CBT-SP was administered to 110 recent suicide attempters with depression aged 13 to 19 years (mean 15.8 years, SD 1.6) across five academic sites. Twelve or more sessions were completed by 72.4% of the sample.
Conclusions: A specific intervention for adolescents at high risk for repeated suicide attempts has been developed and manual based, and further testing of its efficacy seems feasible.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00080158.