The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced the availability of $52.5 million in grants to community-based organizations that provide or coordinate suicide prevention services for Veterans and their families – including conducting Veteran mental health screenings, providing case management and peer support services, delivering emergency clinical services, reaching out to Veterans at risk of suicide and more.
These grants will be awarded through VA’s Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program. The Notice of Funding Opportunity provides information about the program, eligibility, and award process. Applications are due by 11:59 pm ET on May 19, 2023, and awards will be granted to eligible entities by Sept. 30, 2023. The funds will be used by the selected organizations in Fiscal Year 2024.
Preventing Veteran suicide is VA’s top clinical priority and a top priority of the Biden-Harris Administration. This effort is a key part of VA’s 10-year National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide and the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan for Reducing Military and Veteran Suicide. In September, VA released the 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, which showed that Veteran suicides decreased in 2020 for the second year in a row, and that fewer Veterans died by suicide in 2020 than in any year since 2006.
“Veterans at risk of suicide deserve quick and easy access to mental health screenings, peer support, emergency services, and more – both from VA and community-based organizations,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “There are countless great organizations across America that are providing Veterans with this type of local, on-the-ground support, and we at VA are proud to support their efforts.”
This will be the second round of grants awarded as part of VA’s Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program. In September 2022, VA awarded grants for the program’s first year, totaling $52.5 million to 80 awardees in 43 states, Washington, D.C., and American Samoa. The grant program is named after Parker Gordon Fox, a sniper instructor who died by suicide at the age of 25.
Grant funding will be divided into two priorities. Under Priority 1, VA will provide opportunities for funding to those entities with existing SSG Fox SPGP awards. Under Priority 2, new organizations can apply for grants worth up to $750,000. Following the selection of Priority 1 grantee applicants, any remaining funds will be awarded according to Priority 2. VA may prioritize the distribution of suicide prevention services grants under this priority to: (i) Rural communities; (ii) Tribal lands; (iii) Territories of the United States; (iv) Medically underserved areas; (v) Areas with a high number or percentage of minority Veterans or women Veterans; and (vi) Areas with a high number or percentage of calls to the Veterans Crisis Line.
Over the past two years, VA has announced or continued several additional efforts to end Veteran suicide. In January, VA announced that Veterans in acute suicidal crisis can go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for emergency health care at no cost — including inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days. VA has also established 988 (then press 1) as a way for Veterans to quickly connect with caring, qualified crisis support 24/7; launched Mission Daybreak, a $20 million grand challenge aimed at developing innovations to reduce Veteran suicides; conduced an ongoing public outreach effort on firearm suicide prevention and lethal means safety; and leveraged a national Veteran suicide prevention awareness campaign, “Don’t Wait. Reach Out.”
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