Caring Texts, a strength-based, suicide prevention trial in 5 native communities: Research design and methods

Contemp Clin Trials. 2022 Dec:123:106966. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2022.106966. Epub 2022 Oct 14.


Background: Despite their intrinsic strengths and resilience, some American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities experience among the highest rates of suicide of any racial and ethnic group. Caring Contacts is one of the only interventions shown to reduce suicide in clinical trials, but it has not been tested in AI/AN settings.

Objective: To compare the effectiveness of Enhanced Usual Care (control) to Enhanced Usual Care augmented with a culturally adapted version of Caring Contacts (intervention) for reducing suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide-related hospitalizations.

Methods: We are implementing a single blind randomized controlled trial of Caring Contacts in five AI/AN communities across the country (South Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, and Alaska). Eligible participants have to be (1) actively suicidal or have made a suicide attempt within the past year; (2) at least 18 years of age; (3) AI/AN; (4) able to speak and read English; (5) able to participate voluntarily; (6) willing to be contacted by text, email or postal mail; and (7) able to provide consent. Following consent and baseline assessment, participants are randomized to receive either Enhanced Usual Care alone, or Enhanced Usual Care with 12 months (25 messages) of culturally adapted Caring Contacts. Follow-up assessments are conducted at 12 and 18 months.

Conclusions: If effective, this study of Caring Contacts will inform programs to reduce suicide in the study communities as well as inform future research on Caring Contacts in other tribal settings. Modifications to continue the trial during the COVID-19 pandemic are discussed.

Clinical trials registration: NCT02825771.

Keywords: Alaska native; American Indian; Clinical trial; Suicidal ideation; Suicide attempt; Tribal.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Research Design*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Suicidal Ideation

Associated data