One in five suicide deaths is a Veteran and in spite of enhanced suicide prevention services in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), twenty Veterans die by suicide each day. One component of the VHA's coordinated effort to treat high-risk suicidal Veterans, and diminish suicide risk, is the use of the safety plan. The current study aims to examine a novel intervention integrating skills training and social support with safety planning for Veterans at high-risk for suicide, "Project Life Force" (PLF). A randomized clinical trial (RCT) will be conducted examining if Veterans who are at high-risk for suicide will benefit from the novel group intervention, PLF, compared to Veterans who receive treatment as usual (TAU). We plan to randomize 265 Veterans over the course of the study. The primary outcome variable is the incidence of suicidal behavior, during follow-up, established using a rigorous, multi-method assessment. Secondary outcomes include depression, hopelessness, suicide coping and treatment utilization. Exploratory analyses include safety plan quality and belongingness for those in both arms as well as group cohesion for those in the PLF intervention. Strengths and limitations of this protocol are discussed.
Keywords: Depression; Group; Safety plan; Suicide; Treatment; Veteran.