PREVENTS offers organizational and individual options for desired levels of engagement. Pledge Supporters, Strategic Partners, and Ambassadors will work in collaboration with PREVENTS to ensure message and mission alignment.
Pledge Supporters are community members who are inspired to change the national conversation on suicide and understand the risk and protective factors that exist for Veterans and fellow community members. Pledge Supporters will take a personal pledge to help prevent suicide in their community and will encourage others to join their efforts.
PREVENTS Pledge to REACH
The President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide
I pledge to do my part to help change the national conversation around mental health and suicide.
PREVENTS Veteran Survey
The PREVENTS Office has created a first-of-its kind, national survey to gain insight and invaluable feedback about the most pressing needs of our Veterans and how they prefer to receive important information on mental health services and suicide prevention resources. Take the survey to provide feedback on how best to support their needs. The survey will be available through the end of September.
PREVENTS State Proclamation
Encourage and support your Governor in the signing of your state’s Proclamation Pledge.
View the PDFs linked below to see the states and territories that have already signed on to support the PREVENTS Mission.
Alaska State Proclamation
Alabama State Proclamation
Arkansas State Proclamation
Arizona State Proclamation
Colorado State Proclamation
Connecticut State Proclamation
District of Columbia Proclamation
Florida State Proclamation
Georgia State Proclamation
Hawaii State Proclamation
Idaho State Proclamation
Indiana State Proclamation
Iowa State Proclamation
Maryland State Proclamation
Massachusetts State Proclamation
Minnesota State Proclamation
Mississippi State Proclamation
Missouri State Proclamation
Montana State Proclamation
Nebraska State Proclamation
Nevada State Proclamationn
New Hampshire State Proclamation
New Jersey State Proclamation
North Carolina State Proclamation
North Dakota State Proclamation
Ohio State Proclamation
Oklahoma State Proclamation
Pennsylvania State Proclamation
Rhode Island State Proclamation
South Carolina State Proclamation
South Dakota State Proclamation
Tennessee State Proclamation
Texas State Proclamation
Vermont State Proclamation
Virginia State Proclamation
Washington State Proclamation
West Virginia State Proclamation
Wisconsin State Proclamation
Wyoming State Proclamation
These states have also signed the PREVENTS State Proclamation. PDFs will be uploaded shortly.
Strategic Partners will provide the highest level of engagement, with a signed memorandum of understanding or memorandum of agreement with PREVENTS. These partnerships will serve as force multipliers for the work of the PREVENTS Task Force in specific subpopulations and audiences. Partners will contribute to shaping the national conversation about mental health and suicide prevention by proactively engaging in larger public conversations, online, and at community (state or local) events, as well as identify and pursue opportunities for cross-collaboration within their networks, communities, and partnerships.
PREVENTS National Ambassadors
PREVENTS National Ambassadors are individuals at the national level with a sustained connection to PREVENTS and its campaigns. Ambassadors will share approved PREVENTS messaging during their existing day-to-day duties, within their organizations, and/or through personal “influencer” channels. Ambassadors will leverage their personal networks to extend the reach of PREVENTS efforts to academia, employers, members of faith-based and other communities, non-governmental, and non-profit organizations, and the Veteran community.
Second Lady Karen Pence
Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, is a mother, educator, and award-winning watercolor artist. As Second Lady of the United States, Mrs. Pence works to bring attention to art therapy and to the sacrifices made by military service members and their families.
Mrs. Pence dedicated 25 years in the classroom as an elementary school teacher before becoming the First Lady of Indiana in 2013. In her role as First Lady of Indiana, Mrs. Pence created the Indiana First Lady’s Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3), established with the purpose to encourage and support youth and families of Indiana. The Foundation’s board awarded over $600,000 in grants to charities throughout Indiana in three years.
As Second Lady of the United States, Mrs. Pence is committed to raising awareness and educating the public about the mental health profession of art therapy in the United States and around the world. She has observed art therapy programs in the Asia Pacific region, Australia, Europe, South America, Africa, Canada, and across the United States.
Mrs. Pence served as the honorary chair of the Art Therapy Initiative at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in Indianapolis and was a member of Riley Children’s Foundation. She also served as a board member for Tracy’s Kids, an art therapy program for young cancer patients.
In February 2017, Tracy’s Kids honored Mrs. Pence with the Courage Award for her support of art therapy programs across the United States and world. Children’s National Health System also recognized Mrs. Pence for her support of art therapy and presented the Second Lady with the Hero Award in February 2017. In March 2017, Mrs. Pence received the Sister Cities International Diplomatic Leadership Award for her exceptional support of Sister Cities International mission: to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation—one individual, one community at a time. In July 2017, Sister Cities International appointed Mrs. Pence to serve as the Honorary Vice Chairwoman for Sister Cities International.
In October 2017, Mrs. Pence launched her art therapy initiative, Healing with the HeART. She wants to elevate the profession so that people understand that art therapy is a mental health profession, and not arts and crafts. The Second Lady also wants to help people understand that art therapy is an option for various conditions, illnesses, and life experiences; and to encourage young people to go into the profession. To learn more, read why Mrs. Pence chose this initiative and watch her video.
Mrs. Pence also serves as an encourager to military service members, spouses, and their families. She has hosted and participated in numerous events to honor and recognize all of those in the Armed Forces. In September 2018, Mrs. Pence launched an awareness campaign to elevate and encourage our nation’s military spouses. As part of the campaign, Mrs. Pence educates military spouses about the available resources and opportunities to support spouses and their families. In August 2019, the American Legion Auxiliary awarded Mrs. Pence the Public Spirit Award for her contributions that positively impact communities through service to our military, Veterans, and their families.
Mrs. Pence earned a B.S. and M.S. in Elementary Education from Butler University in Indianapolis. She is a Blue Star mom with a son in the United States Marine Corps. Mrs. Pence and Vice President Mike Pence have been married since 1985 and are proud parents of their adult children, Michael and his wife Sarah, and daughters Charlotte and Audrey.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams
Dr. Jerome Adams is the 20th Surgeon General of the United States. His mission as the “Nation’s Doctor” is to advance the health of the American people and his motto is “better health through better partnerships.” He is committed to strengthening relationships with all members of the health community, and forging new partnerships with members from the business, faith, education, public safety, and national security communities.
Congressman Jack Bergman
Congressman Jack Bergman proudly represents the First District of Michigan and serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee in the 116th Congress. Prior to taking office in January of 2017, Congressman Bergman was a small business owner, commercial airline pilot for 22 years, and a United States Marine Corps officer. During the Vietnam War, he flew CH-46 helicopters, and later was assigned as a flight instructor at Whiting Field, Florida. In 2005, Congressman Bergman assumed command of Marine Forces Reserve/Marine Forces North, and he retired from the Marine Corps in December 2009 at the rank of Lieutenant General. The Congressman is the highest ranking combat Veteran ever elected to Congress. He and his wife Cindy have called Watersmeet home since the early 1990’s. They have eight grandchildren and aim to leave the world a better place for them.
Bonnie Carroll founded the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) in 1994, at a time when there was no national support network for the families of America's fallen heroes. Through her own loss of her husband, Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll, she turned her tragedy into a purposeful effort to create what is today the major national program providing compassionate care for all who are grieving the death of a service member.
In addition to serving as the President of TAPS, Carroll also served as the White House Liaison at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under President George W. Bush, Executive Assistant to the President for Cabinet Affairs under President Reagan, and in Baghdad, Iraq, as the Deputy Senior Advisor for Programs in the Ministry of Communications.
Carroll retired as a Major in the Air Force Reserve and has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Death Education and Counseling, the Department of Defense Military Family Readiness Council, the VA Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation, and she is past co-chair of the Department of Defense Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces.
In addition to receiving the 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, Carroll was featured in People Magazine as a “Hero Among Us”; was named a recipient of the Community Heroes Award by the Military Officers Association of America; has been recognized by the Defense Department with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service; and has received the Army's Outstanding Civilian Service Medal and the Navy's Distinguished Public Service Award.
Jewel went from a girl who grew up with no running water on an Alaskan homestead, to a homeless teenager in San Diego, to an award winning, Multi-Platinum Recording Artist who released one of the best-selling debuts of all time.
Through her career Jewel has sold over 30 million albums worldwide, earned 26 Music Award nominations, including The Grammys, American Music Awards, MTV Awards, VH1 Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and Country Music Awards, winning 8 times. Jewel has been featured on the cover of TIME Magazine, Rolling Stone, performed on Saturday Night Live, at the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, for The Pope and The President Of The United States. She has experimented with several genres over her career with top hits in Folk, Pop, Club, Country, Standards, Children's and Holiday music.
Mental health and mindfulness has been a lifelong passion of Jewel’s. She offers free mindfulness exercises and an online mental health community at JewelNeverBroken.com.
2020 marks a momentous year for jewel — she is celebrating the 25th anniversary of her multi-platinum debut album, “Pieces of You” with an exclusive Anniversary package of the album to be released later this year by Craft Recordings. It will give listeners a vivid insider’s look at how this album came to be, collecting all relevant rarities and previously unissued tracks in one place. In addition, Jewel has been hard at work on a new studio album and a forthcoming book. Both will be released next year with a live tour to support.
Dr. Robert Koffman
Retired Navy Captain Robert Koffman, MD, MPH, is Senior Medical Adviser for Warrior Canine Connection. Capping an acclaimed 30-year career as a naval medical officer, psychiatrist and preventive medicine physician, Koffman’s terminal assignment was the Chief of Clinical Operations at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) aboard the Walter Reed campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Koffman, lauded for his work in integrative medical practices, had the unprecedented opportunity to craft the nation’s renown, evidenced-based, holistic recovery program for combat wounded Veterans. A board certified psychiatrist, he obtained his doctorate from the University of Santo Tomas, and his Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Among his many clinical, operational, and leadership positions, he was appointed as the Navy’s first head of Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC). While serving in this capacity, he also advised the Navy Surgeon as Navy Medicine’s inaugural Director for Psychological Health where, during the ramp-up of war efforts for the “hidden wounds of war,” Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and mild Traumatic Brain Injury, he oversaw the management of over $100 million in military campaigns and proposals for tackling the burgeoning problem of psychological health issues and blast-related TBI. Koffman was the former Navy lead on the blue ribbon panel authoring the DoD/VA Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Clinical Practice Guideline.
Prior to his arrival to NICoE, he served as a Navy collaborator and investigator to the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, where he continues to conduct research as a recognized name in military medicine and operational psychiatry. A subject matter expert in deployment health, Koffman has dedicated himself to improving the delivery of mental health care in operational settings. Deploying to Desert Storm, Operational Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, he has provided behavioral health care services for service members in a multitude of maritime, combat, and peace-keeping operations. Koffman is a passionate advocate for increasing access of non-stigmatizing psychological services.
Following a 2010 deployment to Afghanistan where he headed up the first naval medical Behavioral Health Needs Health Assessment Team, Koffman and his Mobile Care Team (also a concept of expeditionary healthcare he developed) conducted the first battlefield mental health assessment of more than a thousand combat-deployed Sailors.
Highly militarily decorated, among his most treasured awards, Koffman is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious USSOCOM Patriot Award for significant and enduring support for USSOCOM’s wounded warriors and their families.
Chairman Cheryl L. Mason
Cheryl L. Mason, after being nominated by President Donald J. Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, was sworn into office as the Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on December 3, 2017. The Board is the Secretary’s designee to decide appeals arising from all three administrations and General Counsel: Veterans Benefits Administration, Veterans Health Administration, and National Cemetery Administration. Ms. Mason is accountable for the efficient and effective management of Board resources, including approximately 1200 personnel and executing a budget in excess of $190 million. Ms. Mason is the spouse of an Air Force Veteran, married to a Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (retired), and is the daughter of a World War II Navy Veteran who died by suicide. Chairman Mason is proud to be named a PREVENTS Ambassador and looks forward to helping change the culture and discussion surrounding mental health and suicide. Chairman Mason is also a key champion in the military spouse employment initiative, working to share best practices across enterprises to increase the hiring and retention of military spouses in the federal government. Ms. Mason received her B.A. with Distinction in Political Science and Psychology from Ohio Northern University and her J.D. from Creighton University School of Law.
Hollyanne Milley was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She has been a nurse for 32 years, spending eighteen years as a critical care nurse in hospital intensive care units and emergency rooms. During the last 14 years she has specialized in cardiac nursing, and is currently a cardiac nurse in Northern Virginia.
Hollyanne has frequently volunteered with Remote Area Medical in the Appalachian Mountains, and supported approximately 3000 people in need who cannot afford medical care, with other doctors, dentists, and nurses.
She also serves as a Red Cross Disaster Volunteer, assisting people and communities suffering from natural disasters, fires, and floods. She volunteered at the West Texas explosion site, and provided food and shelter to victims of the Fort Hood shooting as part of the Red Cross effort. At her local Red Cross Chapter she served as a triage nurse for victims of the Texas and Florida Hurricanes.
Hollyanne has served as a Senior Advisor for many organizations, including the Red Cross, United Service Organizations (USO), Parent/School Liaison, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Easter Seals, and Army Emergency Relief, to name a few. While her husband was deployed she was also a liaison at Walter Reed, greeting all wounded 101st soldiers on arrival. Hollyanne has served as a Family Readiness Group leader at all levels of command. She always seeks opportunities to conduct community outreach and has done so with several organizations.
General Milley and Hollyanne have been married for more than 34 years, and have two children, both of whom recently graduated from MBA programs.
DJ Nash is the Creator & Executive producer of the dramedy “A Million Little Things” which just wrapped its second season on ABC. The show is based on DJ’s experiences losing a friend to suicide. Last May, the Television Academy awarded the series its 12th annual Television Academy Honors, which represents “some of the most powerful and impactful television.”
General John W. “Mick” Nicholson, Jr., U.S. Army (Retired)
Four-star General John W. “Mick” Nicholson, Jr., U.S. Army (Retired) joined the PenFed Foundation as President in April 2019 after serving as the longest-serving commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and NATO’s Resolute Support Mission. General Nicholson’s service to his country has spanned 36 years. Thanks to his extensive work in the international, non-governmental and development agency arena, General Nicholson has been praised as a “warrior-diplomat.” He has worked with the State Department, law enforcement and the national security staff. As an infantry officer in the U.S. Army, General Nicholson commanded at all levels to include command of the 82nd Airborne Division and NATO’s Allied Land Command.
Antonio E. Puente PhD
Antonio E. Puente, PhD was born in La Habana, Cuba and emigrated to the US in 1960. Puente received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. He has taught at University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) since 1981 and prior to that at St. George’s University School of Medicine. His primary teaching activities include Brain and Behavior, Clinical Neuropsychology and History of Psychology. Puente is founding director of UNCW’s Centro Hispano and his research focuses on the interface between culture and neuropsychology. Puente founded and edited the journals Neuropsychology Review and Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice as well as a neuropsychology book series. He has published 10 books, 85 chapters and 112 scientific articles in several languages.
Puente is Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and also maintains a private practice in clinical neuropsychology is the founder and co-director of mental health services at the Cape Fear Clinic, a bilingual multi-disciplinary health center serving the indigent.
Puente served as president of the N.C. Psychological Association, N.C. Psychological Foundation, the Hispanic Neuropsychological Association, National Academy of Neuropsychology, and Society for Clinical Neuropsychology (Division 40 of APA) as well as President of the American Psychological Association.
Admiral Charles W. Ray
Admiral Charles W. Ray assumed the duties as the 31st Vice Commandant on May 24, 2018. As the Vice Service Chief and Chief Operating Officer, Admiral Ray executes the Commandant’s Strategic Intent, manages internal organizational governance and serves as the Component Acquisition Executive.
His previous flag officer assignments include: Deputy Commandant for Operations, Pacific Area Commander, Deputy Pacific Area Commander, the Fourteenth Coast Guard District Commander, service with U.S. Forces Iraq advising the Ministry of Interior, and the Military Advisor to the Secretary of the Department Homeland Security.
A native of Newport, Arkansas, he graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1981. After an assignment as a deck watch officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter ACUSHNET (WMEC-167), he was selected for Naval Flight Training and earned his wings in 1984.
He served at six Coast Guard Air Stations from Alaska to the Caribbean accumulating over 5,000 hours of helicopter flight time. Admiral Ray is the longest serving active duty Coast Guard aviator which has earned him the distinction of being Coast Guard’s 25th Ancient Albatross.
His staff assignments include a tour as Chief of the Office of Performance Management at Coast Guard Headquarters followed by a tour as the Chief of Staff of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District. Admiral Ray earned a Master of Science Degree in Industrial Administration from Purdue University and a Master of Science Degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C.
Admiral Ray’s awards include the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal, five Legion of Merit Medals, one Bronze Star Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, one Coast Guard Air Medal, and various other personal and unit awards.
Lisa Marsh Ryerson
Lisa Marsh Ryerson is President of AARP Foundation, the charitable affiliate of AARP. A bold, disciplined and collaborative leader, she sets the Foundation’s strategic direction and steers its efforts to realize an audacious vision: a country free of poverty, where no older person feels vulnerable. Since she took the helm, AARP Foundation has implemented pioneering initiatives, explored new avenues for collaboration, and secured unprecedented funding to support programs and services that truly change lives.
She also has served on the boards of numerous higher education and nonprofit organizations, including the Council of Independent Colleges, Southern New Hampshire University, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, the Congressional Hunger Center, and L.A. Kitchen, of which AARP Foundation is a founding partner.
Ms. Ryerson has spearheaded innovative partnerships with other organizations to create and advance effective solutions that help vulnerable older adults increase their economic opportunity and social connectedness. Before joining AARP Foundation, Ms. Ryerson served as the president and CEO of Wells College in Aurora, N.Y.
Dr. Altha J. Stewart
Altha J. Stewart, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Community Health Engagement at UT Health Science Center in Memphis is Associate Professor/Chief of Social/Community Psychiatry and Director, Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth at the UTHSC. In 2018-19 she served as the 145th President of the American Psychiatric Association, the first African American elected to this position in the 175-year history of the organization. Prior to UTHSC, she served as Executive Director of the Memphis/Shelby County System of Care program. A native of Memphis, Dr. Stewart worked for decades as CEO/Executive Director in large public mental health systems in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan. She received her medical degree from Temple University Medical School and completed her residency at what is now Drexel University. She has received honorary degrees from Regis College and Christian Brothers University in Memphis. She is past president of the Black Psychiatrists of America, Association of Women Psychiatrists and American Psychiatric Association Foundation. She is the recipient of the Black Psychiatrists of America Lifetime Achievement Award.
Danica Thomas is the widow of US Army SSG Allen Thomas. In March of 2010, her husband was severely injured in Afghanistan and brought to Walter Reed. Danica was pregnant with their first daughter. She became a caregiver overnight and quickly learned they had a very long road to recovery. They were stationed back at Fort Bragg in August 2010, where he would rehabilitate and transition to medical retirement at the Warrior Transition Battalion and Womack. They had their first daughter in October. Danica experienced the hard trials and errors of being a new mom and caregiver, as well as Army wife. They welcomed a second daughter in April of 2013. Tragically in the late Summer of 2013, her husband lost his long battle to suicide. As a widow and mother of two, she has now made it a mission to work closely within the Military community. Danica is the Board Chair of the Susan M. Tillis Foundation, an organization that provides necessary baby items to junior enlisted service members. She is an ambassador of The Independence Fund, where she volunteers at their Operation RESILIENCY program to combat Veteran Suicide. Danica also delivers speeches on suicide and the effects it has on families to educate the public.
Brigadier General Marianne Watson, Army National Guard (Retired)
General Watson continues exploring opportunities to empower people to make great choices. Following retirement as the National Guard Bureau Director of Manpower & Personnel, she has worked for and advised nonprofit organizations in the Veteran job space and women career transition programs. She serves on the Purdue University Military Family Research Institute Advisory Council and serves as an advisor to Give-An-Hour and the Campaign Change Direction.
Stephen Whitehead, a disabled Minnesota Army National Guard Veteran of the Iraq War, was elected National Commander for the more than 1 million-member DAV at the organization’s 2019 national convention in Orlando, Florida.
A native of Trimont, Minnesota, Whitehead in his full-time job, is the DAV Department of Minnesota Executive Director of the Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota Foundation. He is also in the MN National Guard where he serves as the Division Command Sergeant Major of the 34th Infantry Division.
Whitehead joined the Army in 1991. He received a Bronze Star in 2007 for service in Iraq. Other military awards include a Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, five Army Acheivment Medals, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal and the Humanitrian Service Medal. In 2012, he was awarded the Veterans Voices award by Governor Dayton.
He earned a Bachelor’s of Science business degree from the University of Phoenix in 2009.
Whitehead and his spouse, Kim, live in Rosemount, Minnesota. He is a life member of Chapter 10 in Mankato, Minnesota where he serves as the Sr. Vice Commander for the chapter.
Representative Susan Wild
Susan Wild is a member of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania’s 7th district. Congresswoman Wild built a successful legal practice while raising her two children in Lehigh Valley and became the first woman to be appointed as Allentown City Solicitor. In November 2018, Congresswoman Wild was elected as the first woman to represent Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Since the loss of her partner to suicide in May 2019, Congresswoman Wild has become an outspoken advocate for mental health and suicide prevention initiatives both federally and locally. In September, she introduced two bills — the Greater Mental Health Access Act and the Enhancing Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Through Campus Planning Act — legislation to expand access to mental health care for people impacted by suicide and improve mental health and suicide prevention programs on college campuses. Her amendment to the Dignity in Aging Act to provide for mental health screenings in seniors was included in the final package signed into law by the President. Additionally, she has co-sponsored the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2019 and the Mental Health in Schools Excellence Program Act. She is also a member of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus and the Suicide Prevention Task Force.