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December 2015

Preventing Suicidal Ideation in Medical Interns

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(12):1169-1170. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2112

In the first such study of its kind, to my knowledge, Guille and colleagues1 have shown that the use of web-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective in reducing suicidal ideation among medical interns. Relative to interns in an education and attention-only control condition, those who participated in web-based CBT were 60% less likely to endorse suicidal ideation during the internship year. Building on the work of Christensen et al2 in developing electronic health interventions for suicide prevention, this study1 demonstrates that young physicians can be “inoculated” at a very critical time in their lives, that is, provided with knowledge and skills that enable them to be resilient to the stresses of internship, depression, and suicidal ideation (a form of “selective” prevention in the Institute of Medicine’s taxonomy of mental illness prevention strategies).

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