Peer to Peer Programs for Military Suicide Prevention

  • End date
    Nov 1, 2021
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Utah
Updated on 23 January 2021
intervention program
suicide prevention


In the present project the investigators propose to test the efficacy of a peer to peer program entitled Airman's Edge. The Airman's Edge program plans to utilize peer mentors that will be trained in specialized skills designed to impact suicide risk at multiple levels of the military community without creating "extra duties" that increase workload and interfere with mission demands. Peer mentors will introduce primary prevention strategies to their units that target broad-based risk factors across the entire population (i.e., sleep disturbance, social support, meaning in life, firearm safety) with secondary prevention strategies that target individual-level risk factors (i.e., crisis response planning, firearm safety counseling). Peer mentors will complete a structured training process using existing curriculum and procedures that have been tested and refined within military groups. Peers mentors will also participate in monthly consultation calls with the investigative team to receive ongoing support, share resources and lessons learned, and address challenges and barriers to program implementation.

The purpose of the Airman's Edge peer to peer program is to influence indicators of suicide risk among military personnel at two levels, group and individual, consistent with the program's hybrid design that combines group-based education and individual-level suicide prevention skills training. The hypotheses are therefore designed to examine outcomes and effects at multiple levels of the community, which could inform subsequent implementation and translational efforts. The following aims are proposed:

Aim 1: To test the efficacy of a peer to peer program for the reduction of suicidal behavior among military personnel.

Aim 2: To identify moderators and mediators of the peer to peer program's effects on suicidal behavior.


Suicides among military personnel doubled from 2001 to 2015 and have remained elevated. Although new treatments and interventions have been shown to reduce the occurrence of suicidal behavior, they are predominantly available only in mental health clinics. Data indicates that the large majority of military personnel who die by suicide do not access mental healthcare services in the months preceding their deaths. New strategies that are based on these empirically-supported interventions but can be delivered outside the mental healthcare system, thereby reaching a larger proportion of the military community, are therefore needed. Peer to peer (P2P) support programs hold promise as a method for achieving these aims, but the evidence supporting this intervention model remains limited or, in the case of suicide prevention, absent. In light of this gap, the proposed project aims to test the efficacy of a P2P program for the reduction of suicidal behaviors among military personnel. The proposed P2P program, called Airman's Edge, is a hybrid model that includes both group-based peer educator and individual-based peer support components; these P2P program models have demonstrated the strongest outcomes with respect to changing attitudes, perspectives, and behaviors, all of which are key targets for reducing suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The Airman's Edge program is comprised of several skills-based strategies that have been shown to directly reduce suicidal thoughts and behaviors (i.e., sleep habits, firearm safety procedures, crisis response planning), and targets population-level contextual variables known to reduce suicide risk (i.e., purpose and meaning in life, social support). The mechanisms by which these strategies reduce suicidal behavior align with an empirically-supported conceptual model, the suicidal mode, which has guided recent advances in military suicide prevention. The delivery platform for the skills-based strategies employed in the Airman's Edge program have demonstrated very good acceptability and feasibility when used with military personnel.

Condition Suicide
Treatment Peer to peer program intervention
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04021758
SponsorUniversity of Utah
Last Modified on23 January 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Is your age greater than or equal to 18 yrs?
Gender: Male or Female
Do you have Suicide?
Do you have any of these conditions: Do you have Suicide??
18 years of age or older; and
able to understand and speak the English language

Exclusion Criteria

an inability to understand and speak the English language and
an inability to complete the informed consent process
Clear my responses

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