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VA offers $10 million in new funding to help create better suicide prevention strategies

Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center
Jackie Hai/KJZZ
Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix.

The U.S Department of Veteran Affairs is offering funding for communities to assess and prevent veteran suicide.

$10 million in grants will be divvied up among eligible states, territories and tribal governments.

A recent study by ASU shows suicide rates among vets in Arizona are more than double that of people without a history of military service.In 2020, the state established the country’s first Veteran Suicide Mortality Review Team, and this money could help fund its goals.

Aaron Eagan with the Veterans Health Administration talks about what other review teams could do.

“And it allows them to really look at suicide deaths over time and really understand what’s happening, where are those deaths happening, how are they happening, what are the circumstances of those deaths. And it allows them then to develop interventions that really make sense locally or within the state, versus looking at data at the national level.”

Eagan says the money can be used in two ways:

"One is for states that are interested but haven’t really haven’t started doing the work yet. And it’s to help them plan and work through all the challenges, and the logistics and relationships that have to occur to do this work. The other one then is states like Arizona who are already working in this space and can use funding to actually implement what they’ve already planned."

Grant applications close July 24 and money is expected to be awarded in September.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, there is help. Contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 (en Español, llame al 988, prensa 2; for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, dial 711 then 988). You may also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.