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Nebraska Department of Veterans' Affairs

Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families

SAMHSA has partnered with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to bring the Governor's Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF) to states, territories, and communities across the nation. For the Governor's Challenge, 54 states and territories are currently taking part in the challenge and are working to develop and implement statewide suicide prevention best practices for SMVF, using a public health approach. SAMHSA's SMVF TA Center is providing technical assistance for these initiatives.

Challenge Objectives

  • Convene a state/territory (Governor's Challenge) interagency military and civilian team of leaders to develop an implementation plan to prevent suicide among SMVF that will advance the VA's National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide and incorporate evidence-based strategies from the CDC's Suicide Prevention Resource for Action
  • Engage with city, county, territory and state stakeholders to enhance and align local and statewide suicide prevention efforts
  • Understand the issues surrounding suicide prevention for SMVF
  • Increase knowledge about the challenges and lessons learned in implementing best policies and practices by using state/territory-to-state/territory and community-to-community sharing
  • Implement promising, best, and evidence-based practices to prevent and reduce suicide at the local level
  • Define and measure success, including defining assignments, deadlines, and measurable outcomes to be reported


Priority Areas

The three priority areas of the Governor's Challenge are Identifying SMVFs and Screening for Suicide Risk, Promoting Connectedness and Improving Care Transitions, and Increasing Lethal Means Safety and Safety Planning. View each priority area's webpage using the buttons below. 

Priority Group 1 - Ask the Question

Priority Group 2 - Care & Connect

Priority Group 3 - Lethal Means Safety