2021 Suicide Prevention Conference


2021 U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) /

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Biennial Suicide Prevention Conference

May 18 - 20, 2021


Call for Abstracts is Closed
Registration is Now Open and Closes May 17, 2021 at 5PM EST


View Conference Schedule At A Glance



Registration is now open and closes Monday, May 17, 2021 at 5:00pm EST.  

Conference registration is FREE and is required for attendance.  Registration information has been shared with participating organizations via email.  If you did not receive an email and are interested in attending, or want more information about this event, please contact the Conference Planning Team at dodhra.mc-alex.dspo.mbx.spconference@mail.mil.  

Register Now for the 2021 DOD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference

Please Note:  Federal agency firewall restrictions may vary across department or location.  If you experience technical challenges in accessing the registration site, try registering from an alternate networked device.

Conference Information

The 2021 DOD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference, jointly organized and hosted by the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will take place virtually May 18-20, 2021.

This year’s theme – Make Every Connection Count:  Putting the 7 Strategies for Suicide Prevention to Work – promotes a comprehensive approach to prevention, which uses evidence-informed programs, tools, and practices to foster connectedness, increase coping and problem-solving, create protective environments, and strengthen suicide care, among other efforts.  Suicide prevention among our Service members, Veterans, and families is a top priority for the DOD and VA.  As collaborations are key to preventing suicide, we must continue to collaborate across our agencies, as well as with other Federal agencies, nonprofits, academia, and in communities across the Nation to prevent suicide. 

Due to coronavirus-related considerations and with an abundance of caution, this year’s conference will be hosted virtually.  The virtual format will still offer the same opportunities to:

  • Discuss key insights on ways to leverage and implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s seven evidence-informed strategies to prevent suicide across the military and veteran communities;
  • Share the latest evidence-informed practices for suicide prevention;
  • Listen and learn from keynote and luminary speakers;
  • Engage with community experts through virtual campfire sessions, lightning talks, and poster presentations;
  • Network with speakers and attendees via live chat and sessions, among other means.

Call for Abstracts

The Call for Abstracts is closed.  Thank you to everyone who provided a submission.  Selections for abstracts have been announced.  Please check your email or contact the Conference Planning Team at dodhra.mc-alex.dspo.mbx.spconference@mail.mil. 

Abstract submissions for the 2021 DOD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference embrace this year’s conference theme, Make Every Connection Count:  Putting the 7 Strategies for Suicide Prevention to Work, which is informed by the CDC’s seven strategies for suicide prevention

Submissions innovatively and creatively address one or more of the following strategic objectives: 

OBJECTIVE 1:  Understand and apply the CDC’s seven evidence-informed, broad strategies for suicide prevention.

OBJECTIVE 2:  Strengthen economic supports (STRATEGY 1) in the community or area of practice to impact suicide prevention efforts, such as household financial security and housing stabilization policies.

OBJECTIVE 3:  Strengthen access and delivery of suicide care (STRATEGY 2) in their community or area of practice by increasing help-seeking, reducing barriers to care, and improving access to care and resources (e.g., coverage of mental health in health insurance, provider shortages, and suicide care).

OBJECTIVE 4:  Create protective environments (STRATEGY 3) in their community or area of practice through the reduction of access to lethal means, safe storage of lethal means, and review of organizational and community-based policies and culture.

OBJECTIVE 5:  Promote connectedness (STRATEGY 4) in their community or area of practice through peer support programs and other community engagement activities, as well as improving workplace morale/cohesion.

OBJECTIVE 6:  Teach coping and problem-solving skills (STRATEGY 5) such as social-emotional learning programs and family relationship programs that impact suicide prevention efforts.

OBJECTIVE 7:  Identify and support people at risk (STRATEGY 6) of suicide through support tools such as gatekeeper training, crisis intervention, and treatment.

OBJECTIVE 8:  Apply approaches to lessen harms and prevent future risk (STRATEGY 7) in their community or area of practice through postvention and safe reporting and messaging about suicide.

OBJECTIVE 9:  Leverage community and interagency approaches around mental health and suicide; and apply existing best practices, research, and programs in our communities.

Presentation Types

Breakout sessions will be presented in three different presentation styles:

Campfire Session:  60-minute session, including presentation and discussion. Recommended 20-30-minute presentation from the speaker(s)/author(s), allowing remaining session time for discussion and attendee participation/engagement.  During this session, the speaker(s)/author(s) will have the opportunity to facilitate discussion, allowing attendees to ask questions and provide comments.  This session allows attendees to drive their own learning, listen to different perspectives and share experiences.

Lightning Talk:  15-minute presentation, including question time.  To be presented as one in a series during a 60-minute session on a particular conference sub-topic or theme. 

Poster Presentation:  Display including diagrams, text, references or visuals. Accompanied by approximately 3-5 minutes of presentation.

For conference or abstract-related questions, please contact the Conference Support Team at dodhra.mc-alex.dspo.mbx.spconference@mail.mil.

Military Crisis Line

The Defense Suicide Prevention Office does not provide crisis services. If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Veteran/Military Crisis Line for immediate assistance.

Military OneSource

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