VA, DoD update the Suicide Risk Clinical Practice Guideline

The guideline improves the well-being of service members and Veterans at risk for suicide


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VA and the DoD Evidence-Based Practice Work Group (EBPWG) recently updated the 2013 Suicide Risk Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs). The CPG helps ensure that every Veteran has access to the highest standard of suicide prevention care. Since the VHA is the largest integrated health care system in the country, it has an unparalleled opportunity to provide gold standard care.

VA recognizes that not every Veteran can or wants to come to VA to receive health care. The 2019 CPG provides guidance to all providers on best practices to ensure Veterans receive the highest quality care, whenever and wherever they need it.

Patient-centered services

The 2019 CPG is based on evidence from a rigorous systematic review and synthesis of published literature and patient input. The CPG’s areas of focus include screening and evaluation, risk management and treatment, and other management modalities. Additionally, the CPG emphasizes the importance of providing suicide prevention services that are patient-centered and involve shared decision making. Its plans tailor to the unique needs of each individual served.

“The CPG has been updated with the most current evidence available to prevent suicide,” said Dr. Matt Miller, acting director, Suicide Prevention, VA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (OMHSP). “VA is already implementing and will continue to expand services outlined in the CPG to end suicide. While implementing these strategies, we will continue our unceasing effort to expand the evidence on what will prevent suicide in partnership with our research and community partners.”

A full list of guidelines can be found at https://www.healthquality.va.gov/guidelines/MH/srb/.

VA’s highest priority

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 Be There 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


Dr. Lisa Kearney is the Acting Deputy Director, Suicide Prevention in VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. Recently, Dr. Kearney served as the Associate Director of Education at the VA Center for Integrated Healthcare.

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— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

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