Promoting help seeking to veterans: A comparison of public messaging strategies to enhance the use of the Veterans Crisis Line


Elizabeth Karras, Naiji Lu, Heather Elder, Xin Tu, Caitlin Thompson, Wendy Tenhula, Sonja V Batten, Robert M Bossarte.


Background: Few studies have considered different messaging strategies that may augment campaign efficacy to generate help-seeking behaviors among populations at increased risk for suicide, mainly US military veterans. Aims: Findings are presented from the pilot evaluation of the It's Your Call campaign implemented by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Three messaging strategies (with varying intensity and mix of messages) were compared to explore which best promote use of the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) among veteran populations. Method: Daily VCL call data were obtained for 10 US cities during 2011–2012 where the campaign was active, and modeled using Poisson regression to identify changes in utilization patterns associated with the implementation of different messaging strategies. Results: Significant increases in call rates were only evident during the campaign in communities where mixed messages were disseminated. Further, use of mixed messages yielded greater increases in call rates when compared with the other tested strategies. This was an observational study where identification of causal relationships between variables was limited. Conclusion: Findings are encouraging as messaging was associated with help seeking, and they provide insights into strategies that may rapidly promote crisis line use. Results also underscore the need for further research on suicide prevention campaigns and dissemination practices. ÉTATS-UNIS MILITAIRE RETRAITE RECHERCHE-AIDE PROMOTION CAMPAGNE-SENSIBILISATION LIGNE-TÉLÉPHONIQUE INTERVENTION-CRISE CENTRE-PRÉVENTION-SUICIDE STRATÉGIE-NATIONALE

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