VA’s 2018 National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide (National Strategy) defined a broad vision for implementation of a public health approach to end Veteran suicide. Executive Order 13861, signed on March 5, 2019, established a three-year effort known as PREVENTS, which further amplified this unified public health approach. Alongside Suicide Prevention (SP) 2.0 and SP NOW initiatives, PREVENTS is part of the National Strategy operationalized plans organized by the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.
Under leadership from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), PREVENTS has a key focus to encourage Veterans to securely store firearms. Increasing the time and distance between someone who is suicidal and their access to firearms is known to reduce suicide risk. The PREVENTS communications campaign publishes educational materials and resources to encourage secure storage of firearms.
PREVENTS seeks to change the culture surrounding mental health and suicide prevention through enhanced community integration, prioritized research activities, and implementation strategies that emphasize improved overall health and well-being.
The goal of PREVENTS is to prevent Veteran suicide. By adopting a holistic public health approach, PREVENTS is acting on the knowledge that suicide prevention is everyone’s business, and that by working together, locally and nationally, we can prevent suicide.
PREVENTS is building on the critical successes of suicide prevention pioneers and agencies working with service members and Veterans.