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PREVENTing Suicide and REACH Public Health Campaign

preventing suicide

PREVENTing Suicide

September was Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This September, progress was made in several pieces of legislation addressing suicide prevention.

In an executive summary of the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, a somber picture of Veteran suicides is painted.

  • 20 veterans die by suicide each day
  • 14 of these 20 are not in the VA system
  • Each death directly impacts over 100 other people
  • These deaths are preventable

Protecting the lives and preventing suicide among all Americans should absolutely be a priority.

The President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced recently that 42 states and one U.S. Territory have signed the PREVENTS state proclamation. These states and territories have pledged to prioritize suicide prevention and promote the REACH public health campaign.

PREVENTs Initiative

The PREVENTS Initiative seeks to change the culture of mental health and suicide prevention. The Initiative was established by Executive Order 13861 in early 2019 and released on June 17th, 2019. It emphasizes the critical role of states and local communities in suicide prevention and acts on the understanding that suicide prevention is everyone’s business.

The goal of the initiative is to prevent suicide among all Americans. It prioritizes the following high-impact initiatives:

  • Enhance community integration and engage community members in prevention
  • Prioritize research activities and provide state and local grants
  • Implement strategies to improve overall health and well-being

REACH Public Health Campaign

REACH is a public health campaign encouraging everyone to REACH OUT to others vulnerable to suicide and to ask for help themselves when mental health support is needed.

In addition to risk factors for suicide, the REACH campaign lists factors that play a protective role in suicide:

  • Access to health and mental health services
  • Sense of belonging, mission, or purpose
  • Satisfying relationships
  • Effective problem-solving skills
  • Belonging to a faith-based community
  • Physical health
  • Social and emotional health
  • Financial stability
  • High quality of life and social determinants of health

Get involved in the campaign by Taking the Pledge to learn about suicide prevention, promote PREVENTS suicide prevention messages, and support suicide prevention efforts.

As of September 10th, states that had not signed the PREVENTS proclamation and pledged to promote the REACH campaign were:

  •  California
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon

People from each of these states, however, have Taken the REACH pledge. Will all states and territories pledge to prevent suicide through the PREVENTS Act soon? What does this mean for the future of suicide prevention?





About the author

Lori Waddell serves as Co-director of an emergency response COAD in Montana, a freelance writer, and an Air Force Key Spouse. She is passionate about empowering communities and individuals through knowledge and resources. She currently lives in Montana with her husband and two children.