Illinois recently became the latest state to join the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide, a challenge that champions mental health support and preventative services for veterans.
The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will dedicate $2 million to the initiative.
The state will use the latest public health research and data to create and implement best practices. It will also target those most impacted by mental illness, such as veterans and communities of color.
In Illinois, suicide is the third leading cause of death for residents less than 25 years old and the 12th leading cause of death for all age groups.
“We must do everything within our power as policymakers to fight for the lives of our nation’s heroes just as they have fought for us,” Linda Chapa LaVia, IDVA director, said. “I applaud Gov. (JB) Pritzker for rising to the challenge to work towards stamping out veteran suicide once and for all. Veterans and active-duty service members are at an even more increased risk of taking their own lives during this isolating time in our state’s history. This funding to put concrete plans into action could not come at a better time.”
There are 27 states participating in the challenge.