UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Implementation and use of a crisis hotline during the treatment as usual and universal screening phases of a suicide intervention study

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Emergency Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Emergency Medicine | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


BACKGROUND: Although research suggests that crisis hotlines are an effective means of mitigating suicide risk, lack of empirical evidence may limit the use of this method as a research safety protocol. PURPOSE: This study describes the use of a crisis hotline to provide clinical backup for research assessments. METHODS: Data were analyzed from participants in the Emergency Department Safety and Follow-up Evaluation (ED-SAFE) study (n=874). Socio-demographics, call completion data, and data available on suicide attempts occurring in relation to the crisis counseling call were analyzed. Pearson chi-squared statistic for differences in proportions were conducted to compare characteristics of patients receiving versus not receiving crisis counseling. P<0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS: Overall, there were 163 counseling calls (6% of total assessment calls) from 135 (16%) of the enrolled subjects who were transferred to the crisis line because of suicide risk identified during the research assessment. For those transferred to the crisis line, the median age was 40 years (interquartile range 27-48) with 67% female, 80% white, and 11% Hispanic. CONCLUSIONS: Increasing demand for suicide interventions in diverse healthcare settings warrants consideration of crisis hotlines as a safety protocol mechanism. Our findings provide background on how a crisis hotline was implemented as a safety measure, as well as the type of patients who may utilize this safety protocol.


Crisis hotlines, Public health, Research safety protocol, Suicide risk

DOI of Published Version



Contemp Clin Trials. 2015 Nov;45(Pt B):147-50. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2015.08.015. Epub 2015 Sep 2. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Contemporary clinical trials

PubMed ID