The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently awarded the University of Pittsburgh Program Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) $700,000 annually for five years for suicide prevention among veterans and service members.
The university is working in partnership with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS). Under their cooperative agreement, they will create the Northwest Pennsylvania Veteran Suicide Prevention Program.
The program’s goal is to reduce the average suicide rate in 15 counties by at least 10 percent. PERU will assess current suicide prevention initiatives and then develop and implement additional risk assessment programs, community-based training, and healthcare-related initiatives. Data collected throughout the program will be used to identify best practices.
“We all share the responsibility to prevent suicide, which is why we are proud to work with PERU, the CDC, and our other partners to develop programs and practices that will address suicide and offer support and resources to individuals who think about it, plan for it or attempt it,” DHS Secretary Teresa Miller said. “We know that veterans carry a greater risk for suicide than the general population, and that’s why the work we are doing is so critical. The work that this cooperative agreement funds will help save lives across Pennsylvania.”