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(p. 240) Caring Letters for Military Suicide Prevention 

(p. 240) Caring Letters for Military Suicide Prevention
Chapter:
(p. 240) Caring Letters for Military Suicide Prevention
Author(s):

David D. Luxton

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780199873616.003.0019
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date: 18 October 2017

The caring letters concept is a suicide intervention that involves the routine sending of the brief expressions of care to high-risk patients following hospitalization or emergency department treatment. Caring letters is one of the only interventions that has been shown to reduce suicide mortality rates in a randomized controlled trial. Additional studies using various modalities including email, SMS texting, postcards, and phone contacts have further supported the caring letters concept in preventing suicide behaviors. Given the high level of suicide risk among posthospitalized psychiatric patients and the rise in suicide rates within the US military over the past decade, it is important to implement empirically supported interventions. This chapter describes the caring letters intervention and a test of the intervention at US military and veterans hospitals. The theoretical basis for the intervention, as well as practical procedures and recommendations for implementing caring contact programs, are discussed.

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