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Table 2 Description of interventions

From: Effectiveness of brief psychological interventions for suicidal presentations: a systematic review


Theoretical foundation

Characteristics of professionals delivering the intervention

Professional training in intervention

When was the intervention started

Intervention Components

No. & length of initial session/s

No., mode & frequency of follow up contacts

Who delivers contact/s in the ED

Who delivers contact/s after ED

Content of follow-up contacts

Intervention completion

Fleischmann et al 2008 [23]

Not described

Trained psychiatrists, medical doctors, psychologists or psychiatric nurses

Not described

Within 3 days after assessment in ED

1. Information session: information about suicidal behaviour as a sign of psychological and/or social distress, risk and protective factors, basic epidemiology, repetition, alternatives to suicidal behaviours, and referral options.

2. Follow up contacts over 18 months

One 1-hr individual information session

9 telephone /face-to-face contacts at 1, 2, 4, 7 and 11 week(s), and 4, 6,12 and 18 months)

Trained psychiatrists doctors, psychologists or psychiatric nurses

Doctor, nurse, psychologist

Phone calls or visits

91% received the full intervention

Gysin-Maillart et al 2015 [24]

Action Theory, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and Attachment Theory.

Four therapists: one psychiatrist, one psychologist experienced in clinical suicide prevention and two psychological therapists

1-week ASSIP training.

Adherence: peer reviews and supervision

Soon after assessment in ED

1. Session 1: narrative interview - patients were asked to tell their personal stories about how they had reached the point of attempting suicide

2. Session 2: Watch session 1 video-recording & psychoeducative handout-homework

3. Session 3: Discussion & case conceptualization: goals, warning signs, and safety strategies. Written case conceptualization, safety strategies & leaflet

4. 6 follow-up letters

Three 60–90 min sessions on a weekly basis

6 letters over 24 months: every 3 months in the first year and every 6 months in the second year

Clinicians and therapists

Clinicians and therapists

Semi-standardized letters –to maintain the therapeutic relationship & reinforce safety strategy

93% completed the intervention at 24 months (95% at 12 months)

King et al 2015 [25]

Motivational Interviewing, Self Determination Theory, Theory of Health Behavior, and Theory of Planned Behavior

Three licensed Social Workers

Min 40 Hours - conducted by a member of the Motivational Interviewing Trainers’ Network

After initial emergency room visit

1. Individual AMI: personalized feedback to the teen, to explore ambivalence, build discrepancy, enhance teen’s problem importance and readiness to change

2. Family AMI: with parent/guardian to develop Personalized Action Plan Form, provide supplemental resource materials

3. Follow-up letter & telephone call

One individual 30–45 min session

One family 15–20 min session

Handwritten follow-up note and a telephone check-in two to five days after ED visit to support and facilitate action plan implementation

Study therapists

Study therapists

Personalized follow up note & telephone check-in: Half receive telephone follow-up only.

85% received the full intervention 

Miller et al 2017 [22]

Not described

ED physicians & nurses

Detailed manual of procedures, meetings and monthly teleconference to receive training updates, and problem solve

In the ED

1. Secondary suicide risk screening by ED physician following an initial positive screen

2. self-administered safety plan and information to patients by nursing staff

3. follow-up telephone calls

Not described

Up to 7 brief (10–20 min) telephone calls to the patient and up to 4 calls to a significant other, at 6, 12, 24, 36, and 52 weeks

ED physicians and nursing staff

10 advisors: 6 PhD psychologists, 3 psychology fellows, and 1 masters-level counselor

Case management, individual psychotherapy and significant other involvement following Coping Long Term with Active Suicide (CLASP)-ED protocol

1. Secondary suicide risk screening: 89.4%

2. Safety plan: 37.4%

3. Follow-up: 60.8% patients completed at least 1 phone call: of these median number 6 calls (range 2–7).

 19.9% patients had a significant other who completed at least 1 call: of these median number of 4 calls (range 3–4)