Dear American Legion Family and Friends,
Suicide is a national public health issue. Veterans are among higher risk groups, but suicide affects all Americans, which is why VA and The American Legion are working together to adopt a public health approach to suicide prevention. The public health approach looks beyond the individual to involve peers, family members and the community in preventing suicide. Preventing veteran suicide is a top priority for VA, but they need help from dedicated partners like the American Legion Family to reach veterans outside the VA health-care system.
Last year, VA released the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, a long-term plan that provides a framework for focusing national attention and community resources on veteran suicide prevention. The strategy brings together different sectors to reach veterans in the communities where they live, work and thrive. This strategy is more than a plan; it is a call to action. And it requires your help to succeed.
The National Strategy is a guide to online suicide prevention resources. We strongly encourage you to review the National Strategy and determine how you can advance its four strategic directions: (1) Healthy and Empowered Veterans, Families and Communities; (2) Clinical and Community Preventive Services; (3) Treatment and Support Services; and (4) Surveillance, Research and Evaluation. In addition to applying the strategy’s principles to your organization, we invite you to take advantage of VA’s resources to educate your members and supporters, including your social media networks, about veteran suicide prevention best practices.
Legionnaires play a crucial role in VA’s public health approach to suicide prevention. We urge you to become a leader in our mission by adopting the principles of the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide and by contacting your local VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator (SPC) to collaborate and explore potential partnership, education and training opportunities. The Veterans Crisis Line resource locator will help you find a SPC in your area.
When we all work together, we can deliver on this comprehensive plan and save veterans’ lives.