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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 1999 Sep;1(2):100-12.

Designing an intervention to prevent suicide: PROSPECT (Prevention of Suicide in Primary Care Elderly: Collaborative Trial).

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Weill Medical College of Cornell University, White Plains, NY, USA.


Suicide is a major public health problem with greatest risk in the very old. This paper describes an approach to reducing the risk of suicide by intervening on depression in elderly primary care patients. Depression is an appropriate target for an intervention as it is highly prevalent in primary care, is a strong risk factor for suicide, and is more often than not inadequately treated. PROSPECT (Prevention of Suicide in Primary Care Elderly: Collaborative Trial) is a National institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded collaborative study that is testing this approach to suicide risk prevention in 18 primary care practices in the United States. PROSPECT'S intervention of "guideline management" introduces a health specialist into the primary care setting to help physicians provide "on-time, on-target" treatment and long-term management of late-life depression following structured clinical guidelines. The effectiveness of the intervention in reducing suicidal risk and depression is evaluated by following a representative sample of older patients identified using a 2-stage design.


depression; elderly; intervention; primary care; suicide

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