Caring Letters for Military Suicide Prevention: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Annual rept. 28 Feb 2014 - 27 Jan 2015
GENEVA FOUNDATION TACOMA WA
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The purpose of this multi-site study is to conduct a randomized controlled trial of the Caring Letters intervention to determine if the intervention is effective in preventing suicide and suicidal behaviors among Service Members and Veterans. The caring letters concept was originally developed and evaluated by Jerome Motto and colleagues in the 1970 s 1. In Motto s trial, civilian psychiatric inpatients were sent caring letters following discharge initially monthly, decreasing to quarterly for five years. Compared to a control group usual care with no further contact, the Caring Letters group had a significantly lower suicide rate for the first two years of the trial. These caring letters are one of the only suicide prevention interventions to reduce suicide mortality in a randomized controlled trial 2. Despite the initial promising results of the original Caring Letters RCT, there have been no published replications of the original intervention or tests of the intervention among military personnel or veterans. This study will fill an important gap in the evidence base for the Caring Letter intervention and is timely given the steady increase of military suicide in recent years.