May 17, 2021
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are dedicated to empowering all service members, veterans, and their families by providing the strategies, tools, and resources to thrive. This May, DOD and VA personnel from across the nation will convene online at the 2021 DOD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference to further the development of effective, innovative suicide prevention strategies.
“Our Departments are working tirelessly together to prevent suicide. It is our obligation—to those in uniform, our veterans, their families, and to one another—to make sure our people know they are not alone, support is within reach, and we are ready to help,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III. “This conference is invaluable for the DoD, the VA, and other experts from across the nation to learn and share suicide prevention strategies and programs, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“As I promised at my nomination, reducing suicide is among my top priorities as Secretary of Veterans Affairs,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “But we cannot do this by ourselves—there is no one fix and no single organization can end suicide alone. We need all the players at the table, from public health experts and government agencies, to faith-based and community organizations, to help prevent suicide in our military and veteran communities. I look forward to working closely with Secretary Austin, and with leaders across government, academia, non-profits, and the private sector, to make progress in this effort.”
This conference is 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 DOD and VA mission to prevent suicide and support service members and their families throughout their military life, as well as during their military-to-civilian transition, reintegration, and beyond.
The 2021 DOD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference is guided by the Department of Defense Strategy for Suicide Prevention and the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, which outline the agencies’ public health approaches to preventing suicide in military and veteran populations. This year’s theme – Make Every Connection Count: Putting the 7 Strategies for Suicide Prevention to Work – promotes a comprehensive approach to prevention, which uses evidence-informed programs, tools, and practices to foster connectedness, increase coping and problem-solving, create protective environments, and strengthen suicide care, among other efforts.
Conference participants will leave the 2021 DOD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference with evidence-based tools for engaging in suicide prevention in their communities.
Information regarding efforts of the Department of Defense Suicide Prevention Office can be found at www.dspo.mil. To learn more about the efforts of VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention.
Service members and veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a service member or veteran in crisis, can call the Military Crisis Line/Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support available 24 hours a day, seven 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.”
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