As the nation continues to confront an epidemic of suicide, we explore the promising work of Dr. Jerry Motto, who in the 1960s, pioneered a simple, yet surprisingly successful method of treatment that is being implemented today. 1960s: researchers followed up on hospitalizations by sending patients “caring letters.”
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In partnership with Huffington Post Highline

Suicide, Veterans, and How a Simple Idea Is Trying to Combat a Crisis

The U.S. is in the midst of a public health crisis: suicide rates have been rising steadily across the country, and are up 25 % since 1999 – at particular risk are U.S. servic emembers and veterans. After decades of research and innovation in the mental health field, not enough is known about suicide prevention and treatment.

In this short documentary we explore how a psychologist working for the Department of Defense unearthed a prevention approach developed by Dr. Jerry Motto in the 1960s: researchers followed up on hospitalizations by sending patients “caring letters.” Decades later, data shows that this shockingly simple intervention remains promising.

We partnered on this story with HuffPost Highline. Using in-depth reporting and narrative storytelling, Jason Cherkis traces the origin of the Motto approach, one of the only ones that has ever led to a reduction in suicide deaths, and visits people working at the forefront of the field today. Read it here.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.