VA awards $52.5 million in Veteran suicide prevention grants, announces key updates in the fight to end Veteran suicide.
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced several critical steps forward on its Veteran suicide prevention initiatives, including $52.5 million in new Veteran suicide prevention grants, a new set of Veteran suicide prevention public service announcements (PSA), and — for the first time — statistics on the impact of VA’s new program offering free emergency medical care to Veterans in acute suicidal crisis at any VA or non-VA health care facility. Specifically, more than 32,000 Veterans in acute suicidal crisis have received free emergency health care under the new, life-saving VA policy.
Ending Veteran suicide is VA’s top clinical priority. Key Veteran suicide prevention updates include:
VA awards $52.5 million in Veteran suicide prevention grants: More than $52 million to 80 community-based organizations in 43 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and American Samoa. These grants will help these organizations provide or coordinate the provision of suicide prevention services for eligible Veterans and their families.
More than 32,000 Veterans in suicidal crisis have gotten free emergency health care under new VA program: Since Jan. 17, 2023, Veterans in acute suicidal crisis have been able to go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for emergency health care at no cost – including inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days. Thus far, this expansion of care has helped prevent Veteran suicide by providing no cost care to 32,469 Veterans in times of crisis.
VA launches new Veteran suicide prevention PSAs: This month, VA and the Ad Council released new PSAs as part of the ongoing national campaign, “Don’t Wait. Reach Out.” Since the initial launch of the “Don’t Wait. Reach Out.” Campaign in October 2021, the campaign has reached more than 7.9 million Veterans and resulted in more than 3.5 million visits to REACH.
Shortened Veterans Crisis Line number passes 1 million calls, texts, and chats: Since the launch of “Dial 988 then press 1” as the shortened Veterans Crisis Line number in July 2022, the crisis line has fielded more than 1.1 million contacts. This includes over 953,000 calls, an increase of 12.1% from the same timeframe from the previous year, with an average speed to answer of 9.48 seconds. There was also a year-over-year increase in text messages (58.1%) and online chats received (10%). This increase in contacts is evidence that the hotline is working —Veterans in crisis are getting the help they need at the moment they need it.
All 50 states and 5 territories are now participating in the Governor’s Challenge to prevent Veteran suicide.
VA is now working with 1,500+ community-based coalitions to end Veteran suicide
The 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report showed that Veteran suicides decreased from 2019 to 2020 (the most recent year for which we have data) and fewer Veterans died by suicide in 2020 than in any year since 2006. VA will release the 2023 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report later this Fall.
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If you are a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, connect with our caring, qualified responders for confidential help. Many of them are Veterans themselves.
Dial 988 then press 1
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