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The Office of Veteran's Affairs announced today $10 million in new funding for states, territories, and tribal governments to prevent veteran suicide.

According to a press release by the VA, the funds, along with technical assistance, will be managed through cooperative agreements to establish, coordinate
and manage suicide mortality review committees to identify and characterize suicide deaths. These committees are intended to establish a local understanding of suicide, identify at-risk groups, and inform the development and implementation of data-informed suicide prevention strategies for veterans. 

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Native Americans serve in the armed forces at the highest rate per capita than any other racial group. According to the VA, there are more than 140,000 Native veterans living in the United States.

Veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than non-veterans, per the American Psychological Association. Veterans transitioning out of the military and back into civilian life are most at risk. This transition period is considered a "deadly gap," or a period in which veterans no longer have access to their Department of Defense services and have not yet begun to use available VA or community services.

According to the latest data from the VA, 6,392 veterans died by suicide in 2021, 114 more than in 2020. Among those, the highest suicide rate was among  American Indian/Alaska Native veterans at 46.3 per 100,000.

In 2023, the VA launched a new policy allowing eligible veterans in acute suicide crises (explain) to go to any VA or non-VA healthcare facility for no-cost emergency healthcare. Nearly 50,000 veterans have used the benefit.

The new funding will span one year, with awards expected to be made no later than Sept. 30, 2024. The application period opened June 21, 2024 and closes July 24, 2024 at 4:59 p.m., ET. More information can be found in the notice of funding opportunity.

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About The Author
Author: Elyse WildEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Elyse Wild is senior editor for Native News Online and Tribal Business News.