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Letters, green cards, telephone calls and postcards: systematic and meta-analytic review of brief contact interventions for reducing self-harm, suicide attempts and suicide

Milner, Allison J., Carter, Greg, Pirkis, Jane, Robinson, Jo and Spittal, Matthew J. 2015, Letters, green cards, telephone calls and postcards: systematic and meta-analytic review of brief contact interventions for reducing self-harm, suicide attempts and suicide, British journal of psychiatry, vol. 206, no. 3, pp. 184-190.

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Title Letters, green cards, telephone calls and postcards: systematic and meta-analytic review of brief contact interventions for reducing self-harm, suicide attempts and suicide
Author(s) Milner, Allison J.
Carter, Greg
Pirkis, Jane
Robinson, Jo
Spittal, Matthew J.
Journal name British journal of psychiatry
Volume number 206
Issue number 3
Start page 184
End page 190
Total pages 7
Publisher Royal College of Psychiatrists
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2015-03
ISSN 1472-1465
Summary BACKGROUND: There is growing interest in brief contact interventions for self-harm and suicide attempt. AIMS: To synthesise the evidence regarding the effectiveness of brief contact interventions for reducing self-harm, suicide attempt and suicide. METHOD: A systematic review and random-effects meta-analyses were conducted of randomised controlled trials using brief contact interventions (telephone contacts; emergency or crisis cards; and postcard or letter contacts). Several sensitivity analyses were conducted to examine study quality and subgroup effects. RESULTS: We found 14 eligible studies overall, of which 12 were amenable to meta-analyses. For any subsequent episode of self-harm or suicide attempt, there was a non-significant reduction in the overall pooled odds ratio (OR) of 0.87 (95% CI 0.74-1.04, P = 0119) for intervention compared with control. The number of repetitions per person was significantly reduced in intervention v. control (incidence rate ratio IRR = 066, 95% CI 0.54-0.80, P<0001). There was no significant reduction in the odds of suicide in intervention compared with control (OR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.24-1.38). CONCLUSIONS: A non-significant positive effect on repeated self-harm, suicide attempt and suicide and a significant effect on the number of episodes of repeated self-harm or suicide attempts per person (based on only three studies) means that brief contact interventions cannot yet be recommended for widespread clinical implementation. We recommend further assessment of possible benefits in well-designed trials in clinical populations.
Language eng
Field of Research 11 Medical And Health Sciences
17 Psychology And Cognitive Sciences
119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Royal College of Psychiatrists
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30081995

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Health and Social Development
Population Health
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