Designed and created for a veteran by a veteran: A pilot study of caring cards for suicide prevention

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2021 Oct;51(5):872-881. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12762. Epub 2021 May 17.


Introduction: This pilot study investigates feasibility and acceptability of Caring Cards, a suicide prevention intervention inspired by Caring Contacts and the Recovery Model, where Veteran peers create cards that are sent to Veterans recently discharged from a VA psychiatric hospitalization for suicide risk.

Methods: Caring Cards consists of: (1) a weekly outpatient group where Veterans (card makers) create cards, and (2) sending cards to recently discharged Veterans (card recipients). Feasibility for card makers was measured by attendance; acceptability (satisfaction) was examined. Card recipients were sent one caring card, one week post-discharge. Feasibility for recipients was measured by the percentage of Veterans that met eligibility and follow-up response rate; acceptability (satisfaction) was examined.

Results: Caring Cards is feasible and acceptable. The outpatient group had a higher attendance rate (81%) compared with other clinic groups. The percentage of eligible card recipients was 61%. Of these, 69% were reached for follow-up and 50% provided follow-up responses. Card makers and recipients both expressed positive experiences with Caring Cards.

Conclusion: Caring Cards is a low-intensity, feasible, and acceptable intervention with potential benefits for both Veteran card makers and recipients. Additional research is needed to determine the efficacy of Caring Cards as a suicide prevention intervention.

Keywords: caring cards; suicide prevention; veterans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aftercare
  • Humans
  • Patient Discharge
  • Pilot Projects
  • Suicide Prevention*
  • Veterans*