2021 Suicide Prevention Conference

Thank you for attending the 2021 U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) / U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Biennial Suicide Prevention Conference!

To ensure participants have access to the valuable information shared, the event platform is updated to include recorded sessions—including Main Stage presentations, panel sessions, and keynote addresses. Registered users can access the conference platform using event conference login and password https://2021-dod-va.com. Access to the platform will close 5:00 PM EST July 31, 2021.

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

We look forward to seeing you at our next conference in 2023. Information will be forthcoming closer to the conference date.

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), took place virtually May 18-20, 2021.

The 2021 DOD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference 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 was hosted virtually.  The virtual format offered all 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.

Conference Abstracts

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

Submissions innovatively and creatively addressed 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.

For 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.

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