Project Summary

Background: Estimates of U.S. Military veteran suicide deaths range from 17-44 per day; Veterans are overrepresented among U.S. suicide deaths. Exposure to suicide death (knowing another service member or veteran who died by suicide) is common among veterans and increases veterans' risk. Postvention, which is an intervention conducted after a suicide, equips people with support and coping skills. However, little is known about the postvention needs of veterans bereaved by the suicide of another service member or veteran. Moreover, not all veterans have equal access to postvention support. Veterans who served in the Reserve/National Guard (R/NG) face heightened suicide risk but have little access to resources, which makes them a high-risk, underserved group.

Proposed Solution to the Problem: The project team’s solution convenes R/NG veteran suicide loss survivors to:

  1. Build community and empower them to engage in patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) related to suicide postvention.
  2. Discuss, identify and articulate patient-centered CER topics, priorities and questions related to postvention needs.
  3. Create a Patient-Centered CER Postvention Brief together.
  4. Determine the best plans for disseminating the brief and follow through on those plans.

Objectives: The project team’s goal is to identify the postvention needs of R/NG veteran loss survivors. The team aims to convene R/NG veteran loss survivors to:

  1. Establish trust and build community.
  2. Empower them as equitable partners in patient-centered CER.
  3. Understand and voice their perspectives of patient-centered CER topics, priorities and questions related to postvention needs.
  4. Determine, with them, the best way to share these perspectives (via the Postvention Brief) in a way that leads to impact.
  5. Celebrate the work, lived experiences and future goals related to patient-centered CER focused on veteran suicide prevention and postvention.

Activities: The project team will virtually convene 20 R/NG veteran suicide loss survivors three times to:

  1. Build trust and overview the project and administer and discuss “Operation PCOR” (a PCORI-funded, virtual, veteran-created patient-centered PCOR/CER training).
  2. Discuss patient-centered CER mental health postvention topics, priorities and questions.
  3. Review and fine-tune the Postvention Brief and discuss dissemination plans.

Collectively, the project team will create a Postvention Brief that articulates patient-centered CER topics, priorities and questions related to mental health postvention needs.

Projected Outcomes and Outputs:

Short-term outcomes during the project period include identifying mental health postvention-focused patient-centered CER topics, priorities and questions, as determined by R/NG veteran loss survivors.

Medium-term outcomes (0-2 years post-project period) include broad dissemination of a Postvention Brief.

Long-term outcomes (3+ years post-project period) include an increase in postvention patient-centered CER activities by R/NG veterans who have survived a suicide loss.

The project deliverable includes a Postvention Brief, which will overview the patient-centered CER postvention topics, priorities and questions identified by R/NG veteran loss survivors.

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: The stakeholders who will be convened for this project include 20 R/NG veteran suicide loss survivors. The project team will virtually convene stakeholders three separate times throughout the project, totaling nine hours together. Stakeholders will be engaged as research partners, contributing their sociocultural perspectives and insights based on lived experience to identify, articulate and disseminate patient-centered CER topics, priorities and questions focused on postvention needs.

Project Collaborators: The project is a partnership between the Ronin Institute, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and VetREC (Veteran Research and Education Curation LLC). 

Project Information

Jeni Hunniecutt, M.A., Ph.D.
Ronin Institute
$97,710

Key Dates

November 2024
2023

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Project Status
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Last updated: April 3, 2024