This chapter has described elements of a cognitive intervention for depressed individuals with suicidal behavior. As indicated earlier, suicide among individuals with depression is a major public health problem. Individuals with MDD are at an increased risk for suicidal behavior, especially during the early years within the course of their illness. Our recommendation is that suicidal behavior itself is indicative of poor problem solving and needs to be targeted directly during treatment. The brief cognitive intervention described here has been examined empirically and found to be effective in preventing future suicidal behavior. Mental health providers who work with depressed individuals who engage in suicidal behavior are encouraged to utilize the information presented here to help patients in the development and maintenance of adaptive coping strategies, so that suicidal behavior is no longer the only available option that they consider.


We acknowledge the research assistance of Kathryn Lou, Brian Dearnley, and Daniella Sosdjan. Our thanks to Amy Wenzel for her review of the manuscript. Preparation of this manuscript was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (Nos. R01 MH067805 and P20 MH072905915) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (No. R49 CCR321714).


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