Priority #1: Identify Service Members, Veterans and Their Families (SMVF) and Screen for Suicide Risk
Many people in distress don’t seek help or support on their own. Identifying persons who may be at risk for suicide is a key part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. Family members, friends, teachers, coaches, coworkers, and others can play an important role in recognizing when someone is at risk or in crisis and then connecting that person with the most appropriate sources of care.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Annual Suicide Report, of the over 6,100 Veteran deaths by suicide in 2020, nearly 40% of the decedents had no contact with either the Veterans Health Administration or the Veterans Benefits Administration at any time before their death (VA, 2022). This indicates that there continues to be a need for community agencies to be involved in identifying and addressing Veterans experiencing distress or a suicidal crisis.
- Identify New Jersey SMVF in non-VA care systems to increase opportunities for contact and referral to relevant resources.
- Assess New Jersey SMVF in non-VA care systems for suicide risk.
- Develop an Ask the Question campaign.
- Conduct a military experience needs assessment for NJ organizations serving the SMVF population.
- Promote awareness of Ask the Question campaign by way of websites, media, etc.