Program

Nov 10, 2011

OVERVIEW

The Youth-Nominated Support Team II (YST-II)
intervention is based on the idea that social support is critical in the recovery of adolescents who have been hospitalized following suicidal thoughts or a suicide attempt. The program provides adolescents with adults who support them throughout their recovery period. Participants in the intervention group had a reduction in suicidal thoughts, an impact that was concentrated among adolescents who, at baseline, had had multiple suicide attempts. The intervention had no impact on depressive symptoms, negative attitudes about the future, or functional impairment.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Suicidal teenagers

The Youth-Nominated Support Team II (YST-II)
intervention is based on the idea that social support is critical in the recovery of adolescents who have been hospitalized following suicidal thoughts or a suicide attempt. During the program, adolescents who have been hospitalized are asked to nominate adults with whom they would like to have regular supportive contact following their hospitalization, and these adults are then given the chance to participate. Adults who choose to participate first engage in a psychoeducational session that covers the adolescent’s psychiatric disorders, the treatment plan, the risk factors, warning signs, emergency services, and strategies for communicating with adolescents. They are then encouraged to maintain weekly contact with the adolescent as well as with a mental health professional throughout the duration of the intervention.

EVALUATION OF PROGRAM

King, C. A., Klaus, N., Kramer, A., Venkataraman, S.,
Quinlan, P., & Gillespie, B. (2009). The Youth-Nominated Support Team – Version
II for suicidal adolescents: A randomized controlled intervention trial. Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, 77(5), 880-893.

Evaluated population: In order to be eligible to participate, participants had to be between 13 and 17
years of age and have had significant suicidal ideation or a suicide attempt within the past 4 weeks. A total of 448 suicidal adolescents (319 girls) who had been hospitalized for suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts were enrolled in the study. Participants were an average of 15.6 years old, and the sample was 84
percent Caucasian, 6 percent African American, 2 percent Hispanic, and 8 percent other. Participants came from families of varied income.

Approach: Participants were randomly assigned to either the control group, which received treatment as usual (TAU), or to the treatment group, which received TAU plus the Youth-Nominated Support Team Version II (YST-II) intervention. Each adolescent in the treatment group was assigned adult supports, from a group of caring adults nominated by the adolescents themselves, who maintained weekly contact with the adolescents during treatment to talk about the adolescent’s recent activities; concerns and problem solving; and positive change. Each adult who acted as support to a participant participated in a psychoeducational session that covered the adolescent’s disorder, the treatment plan, the risk factors, warning signs, emergency services, and strategies for communicating with adolescents.

Data were collected from adolescents and their parents using the following measures: Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire-Junior (SIQ-JR), used to assess severity of suicidal thoughts; Youth Self-Report, used to assess a broad range of behavior problems; Beck Hopelessness Scale, used to assess negative attitudes about the future; Personal Experiences Screen Questionnaire, used to identify alcohol and substance abuse disorders; Children’s Depression Rating Scale-Revised (CDRS-R),
a semi-structured interview used to assess depressive symptoms within the previous 2 weeks; Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS), used to assess the child’s functional impairment as reported by the parent; and the Services Assessment Record Review, used to assess TAU. Data were collected during the adolescents’ first week of hospitalization (baseline), and again after 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after baseline.

Results: Analyses revealed that, at baseline, the TAU plus YST-II treatment group had more alcohol and substance abuse disorders than the TAU control group. Analyses comparing the treatment group to the control group after the intervention revealed only one significant difference: The treatment group members showed a larger drop in suicidal thoughts than the control group. The intervention had no impact on depressive symptoms, negative attitudes about the future, or functional impairment. Substance abuse and other behavioral problems were not analyzed after the intervention was given. The intervention was also found to reduce suicide ideation six weeks after random assignment among adolescents in the treatment group who made multiple suicide attempts before baseline, but not in later follow-ups, compared with adolescents in the control group.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Manual available upon request.

First author contact information:

Cheryl A. King, University of Michigan, Rachel Upjohn
Building, 4250 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, kingca@umich.edu

References:

King, C. A., Klaus, N., Kramer, A.,
Venkataraman, S., Quinlan, P., & Gillespie, B. (2009).
The Youth-Nominated Support Team – Version II for
suicidal adolescents: A randomized controlled intervention trial. Journal of
Counseling and Clinical Psychology, 77(5), 880-893.

KEYWORDS:
White, Adolescents (12-17), Youth (16+), Males and Females (co-ed),
Clinic/Provider-Based, Manual is Available, Parent or Family Component, Other
Mental Health, Depression, Other Substance Abuse, Other Behavior Problems, Other
Social/Emotional Health

Program information last updated 11/10/11