The fourth webinar of the ICRC-S 2018-19 webinar series, Preventing Suicide by Promoting Social Connectedness: Promoting Connectedness for Veterans and Active Duty Military Personnel took place on May 3, 2019. During this webinar, Dr. Norman B. (Brad) Schmidt of the Department of Psychology at Florida State University and Director of the Anxiety and Behavioral Health Clinic, briefly reviewed the research on efforts to affect the interpersonal risks of ‘Perceived Burdensomeness’ and ‘Thwarted Belongingness’ in suicide prevention efforts. Despite research on the relationship between burdensomeness, belongingness and suicidality, less research has focused on whether we can reduce these interpersonal risks. Dr. Schmidt reviewed a large-scale clinical trial designed to reduce the risks of Perceived Burdensomeness and Thwarted Belongingness among Veterans and discussed the impact of risk reduction on suicide outcomes. Dr. Stephen O’Connor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Louisville and Associate Director for the University of Louisville Depression Center, reviewed information on a suicide focused group therapy available to Veterans. Despite a historical fear of contagion regarding suicide-focused group therapy, growing evidence suggests that this is the very thing that many Veterans want in terms of suicide-specific health services. Dr. O’Connor’s presentation described evolving research on the use of suicide-focused group therapy for veterans, and review how research on suicide-focused group therapy reflects a progression from program development to more rigorous testing of the possible mechanisms involved in the group process.
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