We are excited to announce that the Veteran Spouse Network (VSN) has received a grant from Face the Fight, a nationwide coalition founded by USAA committed to addressing veteran suicide. This funding supports national program expansion to provide VSN’s peer support programs to veteran spouses and to enhance its suicide prevention training with VSN members and peer leaders. This grant has enabled the VSN to increase suicide prevention programming by adding more content, training, and skill-building events for VSN spouses and peer leaders.
How We Address Prevention
While progress has been made in reducing the number of service members and veterans who die by suicide, rates are still far too high. As of 2020, almost 17 veterans are still dying by suicide daily, and 12 of those veterans are dying by a self-inflicted firearm injury.*
Suicide prevention and lethal means safety efforts are critical to combat these numbers, and many interventions often underutilize the spouse and family as a critical part of prevention.
At the Veteran Spouse Network, we believe military and veteran family members are uniquely poised to provide support for the prevention of suicide. Military and veteran life has an impact on the mental health of spouses, children, and other family members. Developing awareness and tools for suicide prevention is equally as important for these groups.
As part of the Face the Fight initiative, we are delivering more programming to prepare military and veteran spouses and family members to be ready to support someone in crisis. We are excited to offer training in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM). These trainings provide our network with tangible skills needed to identify, understand, and be involved in safety planning. As well as respond to signs of suicide risk and mental health challenges.
In addition to these trainings, VSN peer support programming includes suicide prevention information and peer discussions through the VSN Social Club and Veteran Spouse Resiliency Group. Through peer support, spouses and family members can join with peers to discuss how suicide has impacted their lives and find support for themselves and their families.
Check out the calendar below to register for these suicide prevention trainings and peer support programs.
* United States Department of Veterans Affairs, 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report
Tools & Resources
Get Support Creating a Safety Plan
Our partners at the VA Rocky Mountain MIRECC are conducting a research study where they work with a veteran and their concerned significant other (spouse, family member, loved one, etc.) to safely store firearms and to access crisis services, should a mental health crisis emerge. This is an incredible opportunity to receive support from experts in the field. All interactions are done virtually, and participants will be compensated for their time.
For more information and to get involved, call 720-723-7062 and refer to: COMIRB Protocol #20-1572