for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
at La Jolla, California
study started
estimated completion
Principal Investigator
by Colin Depp
Photo of Colin Depp
Colin Depp



Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are associated with high risk for suicide, yet there are few brief interventions that directly target suicide prevention in this large population. The goal of this intervention development study is to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness of a brief intervention called SafeTy and Recovery Therapy (START) that is augmented with content delivered on mobile devices outside of the clinic setting. The intervention will evaluated in a community urgent care center context as people initiate outpatient care, and, if effective, could be deployed in a wide network of such centers.

Official Title

Development of a Mobile Heath Augmented Brief Suicide Prevention Intervention for People With SMI Accessing Community Care


This intervention development research project evaluates the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary impact of a brief cognitive behavioral intervention, tailored to SMI, that is delivered during the gap period between urgent care evaluation and follow-up outpatient care. SafeTy and Recovery Therapy (START) is a 4-session cognitive behavioral intervention augmented by mobile technology, which delivers automated and personalized reinforcement of adaptive coping behavior outside of the clinic setting. START builds from collaborative development alongside a community psychiatric service organization, and our preliminary data in the SMI population that supports the feasibility, acceptability, and impact of brief, mobile augmented cognitive behavioral intervention. In a 3-year developmental study, our deployment focused approach will first refine intervention procedures, safety and care continuity protocols, and fit with the deployment setting with a series of collaborative contacts with community providers, project staff, advisors, and patient advocates. We will next conduct a pilot randomized controlled trial with 70 patients diagnosed with either bipolar disorder or schizophrenia rapidly referred by community triage providers to receive START in the walk-in clinic setting. Patients are enrolled who have SMI diagnoses and current active suicidal ideation and/or a suicide attempt in the prior 3 months. Participants are randomized to one of two active conditions: START + Mobile augmentation or START alone. We will evaluate feasibility, acceptability, and enhancement of rates of outpatient treatment engagement and crisis service use in comparison to the sample population. We will also examine pragmatic mechanisms, which include outpatient treatment engagement and coping self-efficacy, on change in suicidal ideation severity and crisis service use along with the preliminary impact of mobile augmentation.


Schizophrenia Bipolar Disorder Suicide and Self-harm Suicide Safety and Recovery Therapy Mobile Augmentation START + Mobile Augmentation START


For people ages 18 years and up

All subjects are recruited from San Diego area "walk-in" behavioral health evaluation services and must be referred by a triage clinician at such facilities. The study is unable to accept referrals from other sources. In addition, the following criteria apply:

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Subjects must have present suicidal ideation CSSR-S> 2 ("Active thoughts of killing oneself") in past 1 month and/or a suicide attempt in the prior 3 months as identified by the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale
  2. Diagnosis of DSM-V bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder as identified by the MINI International Neuropsychiatric Interview
  3. Plans to remain in San Diego region for at least 6 months,
  4. Capable of informed consent.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Not English speaking
  2. Cannot complete the assessment battery;
  3. Insufficient visual acuity/manual dexterity for navigating a touch screen;
  4. Current intoxication or substance use requiring immediate detoxification or outpatient plan directed at substance abuse services (versus mental health services which are separate in San Diego county);
  5. Under conservatorship requiring proxy consent.


  • University of California, San Diego
    La Jolla California 92037 United States

Lead Scientist at UCSD

  • Colin Depp
    As a clinician scientist, my research has focused on technology-based longitudinal assessment and real-time interventions in mental health, in particular mobile technology applications in serious mental illnesses. I have been fortunate to receive as PI several NIMH and VA grants, each concerned with evaluation of technology enhanced assessments and cognitive and behavioral real-time interventions.


accepting new patients by invitation only
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Diego
Phase 2
Study Type
Last Updated