Background: Suicidal ideation and attempts are increasing in the adolescent population and suicide is now the second leading cause of death for youth 10-24 years of age (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2016). Children that continue to struggle with suicidality and depression after treatment as usual have an increased length of stay, from an average of five days to nine days per admission. Recidivism rates are also increasing, with some patients
requiring readmission the same day as discharge.
Method: The purpose of project was to check the feasibility of the use of cognitive behavioral therapy-based group called Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment (COPE) in the treatment of children with depression and suicidality. The study patients participated in up to 7 groups of a 60-minute lesson of COPE each day, combined with interactive activities that helped
them practice problem solving and coping skills. The feasibility of the COPE groups were measured by the consistent decrease of Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale at the beginning and conclusion of lessons as well as consistency of engaged participation in the COPE groups on the unit based of staff observation obtained from Staff Survey.
Results: The results analyzed using the two-tailed Wilcoxon signed rank test were significant based on an alpha value of 0.05, V = 0.00, z = -3.64, p < .001. This indicated that the differences between Pre-CSSR and Post-CSSR were not likely due to random post variation. The median of Pre-CSSR (Mdn = 1.00) was significantly lower than the median of Post-CSSR (Mdn = 2.00).
Discussion: The results proved feasibility of a cognitive behavioral therapy-based group in the treatment of depression and suicidality of children in an inpatient unit.