Coping and Support Training (CAST)

An Evidence-Based Practice


Coping and Support Training (CAST) is a high school-based suicide prevention program that targets high-risk young adults in grades 9-12. CAST delivers life-skills training and social support in small-group format. CAST’s skills training sessions target three main goals: (1) increased mood management, (2) improved school performance, and (3) decreased drug involvement. The program sessions focus on skills training with an emphasis on self-esteem, monitoring and setting goals, decision-making, better management of anger and depression, “school smarts”, and control of drug use. The CAST group meets for twelve, 1-hr sessions.

Goal / Mission

The goal of CAST training is to deliver life-skills training to high-risk high school students in order to increase mood management skills, improve school performance, and decrease drug involvement.


CAST participants saw significantly greater declines in suicide risk factors and a reduction in severity of depression symptoms.

Results / Accomplishments

In a clinical randomized controlled trial (RCT) that compared CAST participants with usual care for youth at suicide risk, CAST participants showed significantly greater declines relative to usual care youth in two of the four suicide risk factors: declines in positive attitudes toward suicide and in suicidal ideation. The rates of decline in these suicidal behaviors were most pronounced in the first 4 weeks after baseline assessment (p < .05). A slight rebound occurred in positive attitude toward suicide at 10 weeks, but reductions were sustained at the 9-month follow-up (p. < .05). For suicidal ideation, the initial declines were maintained throughout the 9 months of follow-up (p < .05). In addition to other positive outcomes, CAST youth had faster rates of decline in depressed affect compared with usual care youth (p < .05). Controlling for baseline depression, the severity of depression symptoms decreased significantly in the CAST youth relative to usual care youth (p < .008) at the 10-week follow-up, with an additional decrease at the 9-month follow-up after the baseline assessment (p < .002).

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Reconnecting Youth, Inc.
P.O. Box 20343
Seattle, WA 98102
Health / Teen & Adolescent Health
Education / Student Performance K-12
Health / Prevention & Safety
Reconnecting Youth, Inc.
SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
Date of publication
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Target Audience