This August 26–29, nearly 2,000 VA and DoD care teams, leaders, allies and subject matter experts from across the country will convene at the 2019 VA/DoD Suicide Prevention Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Since its inception in 2004, this annual conference has been an important forum for sharing best practices, key research findings and policy updates in the suicide prevention field. It is a crucial extension of the shared VA and DoD mission to prevent suicide among all service members and Veterans.
“We are looking forward to our continued partnership with the DoD at the 2019 VA/DoD Suicide Prevention Conference,” said Dr. Keita Franklin, Executive Director, Suicide Prevention, in VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. “The conference represents a knowledge exchange that will enhance the support we provide to Service members and Veterans.”
This year’s conference theme is “Many Roles. One Mission.,” which emphasizes that everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide among Service members and Veterans. Guided by the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide and the Department of Defense Strategy for Suicide Prevention, attendees of the VA/DoD Suicide Prevention Conference will continue to build on the public health strategies that VA and the DoD apply at the facility, community and state levels.
The conference will enable attendees to:
- Better understand the elements of the public health approach to suicide prevention.
- Define their roles within the public health approach to suicide prevention.
- Identify opportunities to adopt and improve public health suicide prevention strategies, including prevention, intervention and postvention efforts designed for service members, Veterans and their communities.
- Develop a custom suicide prevention action plan that leverages local, state, national and international partnerships to optimize surveillance, outreach, intervention and training efforts.
- Summarize measurable outcomes associated with their suicide prevention action plan.
- Build cooperative opportunities within and between VA, DoD, and the community.
VA employee participation in the 2019 VA/DoD Suicide Prevention Conference must be approved by supervisors. Employees who have obtained approval to attend the conference will receive a registration invitation with instructions for next steps starting the week of June 10.
To learn more about the efforts of VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, visit https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention.
The health and well-being of our nation’s Veterans and former service members is VA’s highest priority. Guided by data and research, VA is working with partners, Veterans’ family members and friends and the community to ensure that Veterans and former service members get the right care whenever they need it. To learn about the resources available for Veterans and how you can #BeThere for a Veteran as a VA employee, family member, friend, community partner or clinician, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/resources.asp.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.
Wendy Lakso is the acting deputy suicide prevention program director, Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention