Death by suicide continues to be an issue of major concern affecting military service members and veterans. However, there are also glimmers of hope that awareness and prevention efforts are making a difference. Data from the U.S. Department of Defense Annual Suicide Report from 2021 indicate that the active component suicide rate has gradually increased since 2011, with a lower rate in 2021 compared to 2020. The 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report indicated that from 2001 to 2020 the age- and sex-adjusted suicide rates of veterans were highest in 2018, and that they decreased by nearly 10% between 2018 and 2020.
EDC provides suicide prevention subject matter expertise and technical assistance (TA) support for the Service Members, Veterans, and their Families Technical Assistance (SMVF TA) Center, which guides state and city leaders in implementing evidence-based suicide prevention strategies. As part of this work, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) partner to bring the Governor’s and Mayor’s Challenges to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF) to states, territories, and communities across the United States.
EDC staff engage in the following activities:
- Deliver telephone and in-person TA based on the Veterans Administration’s National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide 2018–2028 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Suicide Prevention Resource for Action
- Promote suicide prevention best practices at Policy and Implementation Academies convened by SAMHSA and VA as part of the Governor’s and Mayor’s Challenges to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families
- Connect interagency teams with suicide prevention efforts and expertise at the federal level, across states, and in their local communities
The SMVF TA Center has:
- Reached 27 states through the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families
- Reached 22 cities through the Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families
Policy Research Associates