Veterans’ Health

Grantee Name

Stop Soldier Suicide, Inc.

Funding Area

Veterans’ Health

Publication Date

April 2022

Grant Amount

$150,000

Grant Date:

July 2020- June 2021

Suicide is a growing public health epidemic that disproportionately impacts military veterans, resulting in a staggering number of lives lost each year.

While New York State has one of the lowest suicide rates in the country, its veterans die by suicide at almost double the rate of their civilian counterparts—accounting for 1 in 7 suicides across the State. In the months leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stop Soldier Suicide saw a 46% increase in requests for help from New York City veterans. Since the outbreak, an exacerbation of the underlying behavioral health issues that can lead to suicide has occurred, increasing demand for veteran-specific suicide prevention services in the nation’s largest city. In 2020, NYHealth awarded Stop Soldier Suicide a grant to expand its evidence-based suicide prevention program throughout the New York City metro region.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Identified veterans at higher risk for suicide using proven research methodology on online keyword searches in search engines and social media.
  • Reached more than 100 at-risk veterans across the New York City metro region through tailored digital outreach and online and social media advertising.
  • Cultivated, expanded, and mobilized a service network with existing providers to address veteran suicide in New York City, particularly in response to rising risk levels stemming from the pandemic.
  • Coordinated and personalized the intake of clients from social service providers, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations that lacked the specialty knowledge and capacity to effectively serve veterans at risk of suicide.
  • Found significant improvements in wellbeing and reductions in suicide risk factors among veteran clients served. Data showed that after 90 days of care and services provided, newly acquired clients in New York City reported:
    • 18% reduction in hopelessness;
    • 33% reduction in psychological pain; and
    • 57% reduction in self-hate.

In 2021, NYHealth awarded Stop Soldier Suicide a second grant to further expand its suicide prevention program throughout the New York City region, with a targeted focus on high-need areas like Staten Island. Additionally, Stop Soldier Suicide is working with RTI International on a professional evaluation of this project and will generate a comprehensive report on the effectiveness of this approach in New York City. The evaluation will inform policy and programs focused on preventing veteran suicide in New York City, as well as outline best practices and potential for expansion in other cities and statewide.

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: N/A