The health and well-being of our nation’s service members and Veterans is a top priority for VA and the U.S. Department of Defense which is why we have partnered to host and organize the nation’s only conference dedicated to addressing suicide within the service member and Veteran community. The 2019 VA/DoD Suicide Prevention Conference will take place Aug. 26–29 at a location to be determined.
Guided by the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide and Department of Defense Strategy for Suicide Prevention, VA and DoD care teams, leaders, allies and subject matter experts from across the country will convene to share comprehensive and public health-based strategies to prevent suicide nationwide.
“At the 2019 VA/DoD Suicide Prevention Conference, care teams will be equipped with the latest and best practices and research findings,” said Dr. Keita Franklin, executive director of suicide prevention for VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. “When these teams return to their facilities, they can apply this information to improve the lives of the Service members and Veterans they serve.”
This year’s theme — Many Roles. One Mission. — emphasizes the impact individuals and communities can have in preventing suicide. We are seeking abstracts that innovatively and creatively address one or more of the following strategic directions:
- Healthy and empowered service members, Veterans, families and communities: VA and DoD seek to create supportive environments that promote the health of Service members and Veterans and reduce suicide risk as well as associated risks. A wide range of partners can contribute to suicide prevention, including organizations and programs that promote the health of children, youths, families, working adults, older adults and others in the community.
- Clinical and community preventive services: Clinical and community-based programs and services play a key role in promoting wellness, building resilience, and preventing suicidal behaviors among Service members and Veterans. Preventing suicide requires that support systems, services, and resources work together to help Service members and Veterans successfully navigate life’s challenges.
- Treatment and support services: Service members and Veterans at high risk for suicide require clinical evaluation and care so that behavioral and medical conditions can be identified and treated.
- Surveillance, research and evaluation: Public health surveillance refers to the ongoing, systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and timely use of data to reduce morbidity and mortality. Research and evaluation are activities that assess the effectiveness of particular interventions, adding to the knowledge base in Service member and Veteran suicide prevention.
Go to the conference’s Whova page at https://whova.com/web/vspc_201908 to submit your abstract by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on March 29, 2019.
Step 1: Click the “register” button. Please note: This will not register you for the conference.
Step 2: Click the drop-down menu and select 1. Then, click the “register” button.
Step 3: Complete the submission form with a description of your proposal. Then, click the “submit” button in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.
Step 4: Once you have completed the registration and submitted the abstract proposal, you will receive a confirmation email with next steps.
Look for more detailed conference information to appear on the Whova page in the weeks to come. If you have any questions, please email them to VADoDSuicidePreventionConf@va.gov.
To learn more about the efforts of VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, visit 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.
About the author: Wendy Lakso is the acting deputy suicide prevention program director for VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.