Aim: Suicide attempt, ideation and deliberate self-harm are common among adolescents. Limited evidence exists regarding interventions that can reduce risk; however, research indicates that maintaining contact with at-risk adults following discharge from services via letter or postcard can reduce risk. The aim of the study was to test a postcard intervention among people aged 15-24 who presented to mental health services but were not accepted, yet were at risk of suicide.
Methods: A randomized controlled trial of 3 years in duration was used. The intervention consisted of 12 postcards sent once a month for 12 months following presentation to the service. Key outcomes of interest were reduced rates of suicide attempt, suicidal ideation and deliberate self-harm, assessed at 12 and 18 months.
Results: Participants reported that they liked receiving the postcard and that they used the strategies recommended. However, no significant effect of the postcard intervention was found on suicide risk, although participants in both groups improved on measures of mental health over the course of the study.
Conclusions: There remains a need for further research into youth-friendly interventions for young people at risk of suicide.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.