Year: 2022 Source: Psychological Services. (2022). Advance online publication. SIEC No: 20220309

Caring Contacts (CC), a low-cost intervention originally designed and tested by Jerome Motto in 1976, remains one of the few strategies to demonstrate efficacy in the prevention of suicide deaths. Interest in CC has increased steadily over the last several years in tandem with rising U.S. suicide rates and the acceleration of suicide prevention initiatives. There have been several efforts to design interventions modeled after Motto’s strategy, and the recent publication of additional large-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in alignment with the intent of Motto’s original model afford an opportunity to systematically review efficacy findings. The current systematic review provides an updated and focused analysis of the evidence supporting the efficacy of CC. A systematic literature search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, and was conducted, and PRISMA, Cochrane, and GRADE guidelines were followed. Of 2,746 abstracts reviewed, 13 publications, comprising six randomized controlled trials (RCTs) met inclusion criteria. The studies encompassed 6,218 participants across four countries and military, veteran, and civilian health care systems. The primary outcome was suicide mortality; secondary outcomes were suicide attempts and emergency department (ED) presentations/hospitalizations. The DerSimonian–Laird random-effects univariate meta-analysis was used to estimate summary effect sizes and evaluate statistical heterogeneity. Summary risk ratio estimates ranged from 0.57 to 1.29 across outcomes and time points; most estimates indicated a protective effect. For suicide deaths and ED presentations/hospitalization, interval estimates at 1-year postrandomization were consistent with either an increase or a decrease in risk. A protective effect was observed for suicide attempts at 1-year postrandomization. Implications and methodological recommendations for future work in this area reviewed and discussed.