A Menu of Options: Resources for Preventing Veteran Suicide in Rural Communities


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Abstract

Suicide rates are higher in rural communities than in their urban counterparts. Of particular concern are veterans residing in rural communities, who have a 20% higher risk of dying by suicide than veterans who live in urban areas. The objective of this manuscript is to assess the availability of evidence-based and promising practices to support a community-based suicide prevention effort for rural veterans. We compiled a compendium of evidence-based and promising practices—the “menu of options”—with resources across 4 levels: increasing access to crisis services, enhancing primary care suicide prevention, training community members, and raising public awareness. We compiled resources from multiple sources, then reviewed and rated each one to arrive at consensus on the final selections. The final menu includes 70 resources. However, only 20 are tailored for veterans, only one for rural communities, and none for rural veterans. More research is needed to identify effective strategies and develop rural-tailored resources for preventing suicide among this unique and often underserved population. The menu of options represents a first step toward developing an approach to rural veteran-suicide prevention that aligns with evidence-based practice, theory, and a public health model for suicide prevention.

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