Use of crisis management interventions among suicidal patients: Results of a randomized controlled trial

Depress Anxiety. 2018 Jul;35(7):619-628. doi: 10.1002/da.22753. Epub 2018 May 10.


Background: Previous research supports the efficacy of the crisis response plan (CRP) for the reduction of suicidal behaviors as compared to treatment as usual (TAU). Patient perspectives and use of the CRP, and their relationship to later suicidal thoughts, remain unknown.

Methods: A secondary analysis of a randomized clinical trial comparing a standard CRP (S-CRP), a CRP enhanced with reasons for living (E-CRP), and TAU in a sample of 97 active-duty U.S. Army personnel was conducted. Participants were asked about their use, perceptions, and recall of each intervention. Generalized estimating equations were used to test the conditional effects of intervention use, perceptions, and recall on severity of suicide ideation during follow-up.

Results: Across all treatment groups, over 80% of participants retained their written CRP up to 6 months later, but less than 25% had the written plan in their physical possession at the time of each assessment. Participants in S-CRP and E-CRP were more likely to recall self-management strategies and sources of social support. Participants in TAU were more likely to recall use of professional healthcare services and crisis management services. All three interventions were rated as highly useful. More frequent use of the E-CRP and recall of its components were associated with significantly reduced suicide ideation as compared to TAU.

Conclusions: Both CRPs have high acceptability ratings. The effect of both CRPs on reduced suicide ideation is associated with patient recall of components. More frequent use of the E-CRP is associated with larger reductions in suicide ideation.

Keywords: acceptability; crisis response plan; military; psychotherapy; safety plan; suicide.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Self-Management / methods*
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide / prevention & control*
  • United States
  • Young Adult