Suicide Prevention Study of VA-BIC in the Veteran Population (VA-BIC RCT)

  • End date
    Sep 30, 2025
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    VA Office of Research and Development
Updated on 3 June 2022


The VA is committed to reducing suicide in the U.S. Veteran population. Over 6,000 Veterans die from suicide each year, and this risk is particularly high following a psychiatric hospitalization. This may be due to problems with engagement in care and poor social connectedness. Although the VA has implemented tools to address Veteran suicide risk, suicide after psychiatric discharge remains an ongoing problem. This has highlighted the need to develop new interventions and approaches to post-discharge mental health care within the VA. In response, this project is a randomized control trial of an intervention an intervention called Prevention of suicide: Education, Awareness, Connection, and Engagement (PEACE). This intervention is comprised of two synergistic and promising components to prevent suicide: 1) a mobile mental health app, which aims to improve social connectedness after discharge; and 2) a manual-based intervention called the Veterans Affairs Brief Intervention and Contact Program (VA-BIC), which promotes engagement in care. The overall goal of this study is to determine if the PEACE intervention combined with standard discharge care reduces suicidal ideation as compared to a control group receiving only standard discharge care.


Background: Suicide is a major public health concern in the U.S., and even more so in the Veteran population. Furthermore, the period following psychiatric hospitalization is one of the highest risk periods for suicide. Based on current evidence, some of the most important contributing factors to post-hospitalization suicide risk include problems with engagement in care, fragmented care, and lack of social connectedness. Other studies in civilian populations have also raised similar concerns, highlighting the need to identify novel and effective interventions or approaches to post-discharge mental health care.

Objectives: This project aims to 1) Identify the effect of PEACE on suicidal ideation after psychiatric hospitalization, compared to standard care alone; 2) Identify the effect of PEACE on social connectedness and engagement in care after psychiatric hospitalization, compared to standard care alone; and 3) Compare the effect of PEACE on suicide attempts and suicide deaths after psychiatric hospitalization, compared to standard care alone.

Methods: This is a single-site, assessor-blinded, randomized control trial of PEACE plus standard psychiatric hospital discharge care compared to standard psychiatric hospital discharge care alone. The trial will enroll up to 160 participants aged 18 years and older who are being discharged from the White River Junction VA Medical Center inpatient mental health unit. Participants will be randomized to either the PEACE intervention plus standard psychiatric discharge care or standard psychiatric discharge care alone. Suicidal ideation, hopelessness, social connectedness, engagement in care, suicide attempts, and app engagement (only those randomized to PEACE) will be measured at baseline and one, three, and six months post-discharge. Participants randomized to PEACE will also receive eight additional intervention contacts as part of the VA-BIC protocol.

Hypothesis: Veterans receiving the PEACE intervention will report greater improvements in suicidal thoughts and behaviors, hopelessness, social connectedness, and engagement in care at follow-up contact visits compared to Veterans receiving standard care alone.

Condition Suicide Prevention
Treatment PeACE, Standard Psychiatric Hospital Discharge Care
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04446468
SponsorVA Office of Research and Development
Last Modified on3 June 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Per the unit psychiatrist, hospitalization was due to concerns about acute risk for self-harm including suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and/or admitting provider deemed the patient was at imminent risk for self-harm
Be a Veteran eligible to receive VA services
Be able to speak English
Have access to a smart phone and express willingness to download a mobile app

Exclusion Criteria

Unable to provide informed consent
The investigators do not plan to enroll any potentially vulnerable populations including prisoners, or involuntarily committed patients
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