Research indicates that low social support and isolation are risk factors for veteran suicide. Despite the importance of social connectedness, there is little research indicating the effectiveness of including concerned significant others (CSOs), e.g., family members, spouses, close friends, and peers in veteran suicide prevention efforts. Integrating social support into treatments for veterans has demonstrated positive results; yet this strategy has not typically been studied within veteran suicide prevention.

This PCORI Engagement Award project will host “All Hands on Deck: Community Convening to Improve Research on Veteran Suicide Prevention” to facilitate discussions with 200 stakeholders including veterans, CSOs, mental health providers, and researchers. The goal is to design innovative engagement strategies with CSOs to improve veteran suicide prevention research.

Facilitated groups will discuss ways to engage concerned significant others in veteran suicide comparative effectiveness research on (1) firearms safety and (2) crisis response and safety planning research. A Stakeholder Advisory Board will be formed to guide the project comprised of veterans, concerned significant others, mental health providers and researchers to design, plan and run the convening. After the convening, the project leaders and board will co-author and disseminate a CSO engagement guide to support PCORI in veteran suicide prevention.