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Veteran Preferences for the Caring Contacts Suicide Prevention Intervention.

Reger MA, Gebhardt HM, Lee JM, Ammerman BA, Tucker RP, Matarazzo BB, Wood AE, Ruskin DA. Veteran Preferences for the Caring Contacts Suicide Prevention Intervention. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior. 2019 Oct 1; 49(5):1439-1451.

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OBJECTIVE: The Caring Contacts intervention has been implemented with a variety of methodologies. The purpose of this study was to examine high-risk inpatient preferences for the Caring Contacts intervention. METHOD: Veteran psychiatric inpatients (N  =  154) completed an anonymous patient preferences survey to obtain feedback on Caring Contact methods such as message wording, preferred correspondent, frequency of contact, duration of the intervention, imagery, and mailing modality. RESULTS: Eighty-five percent of veterans Agreed or Strongly Agreed that they would like to receive Caring Contacts from at least one of the correspondent options, with inpatient or outpatient mental health counselor, or primary care physician most preferred. Example messages based on prior studies were overwhelmingly rated as caring and helpful; 84% believed that Caring Contacts could help suicidal individuals. Letters or postcards sent through postal mail were preferred over e-mail or text messages. Participants most commonly thought Caring Contacts should be sent monthly for a period of a year. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that most high-risk veterans would perceive Caring Contacts as helpful and caring. The results provide several practical, helpful tips for programs seeking to establish a Caring Contacts program.

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