The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has long recognized the need to reduce suicide among Veterans as an organizational priority.
In August 2007 VA established the VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention (CoE) at the Veterans Health Administration Medical Center in Canandaigua, NY.
The CoE is located in Building 37 on the campus of the Canandaigua VA Medical Center where it enjoys generous support from the facility and its Medical Center Director, Mr. Craig Howard.
The CoE is overseen by VA's Mental Health Services, its principle funder, as well as by the leadership of the VA Healthcare Upstate New York (VISN 2) and most directly by Bruce Nelson, PhD, VISN 2 Behavioral Health Careline Director.
Our original mission and focus areas did not explicitly refer to a public health model of suicide prevention, but over time this perspective has come to define our Center.
In particular, CoE uses a public health approach that is informed by the 2012 U.S. National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The following link will take you to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center where additional information is available about the public health approach. http://www.sprc.org/sites/sprc.org/files/library/phasp.pdf
Consistent with its public health approach, the CoE’s mission and goals are as follows:
Mission: To integrate surveillance with intervention development through research to inform the implementation of effective Veteran suicide prevention strategies.
Goal 1) Continually enhance a leading edge suicide surveillance system;
Goal 2) Identify target populations and settings for future intervention;
Goal 3) Shape the development of effective interventions;
Goal 4) Develop novel suicide prevention training programs and disseminate new knowledge related to prevention;
Goal 5) Facilitate information exchange and collaboration to align our efforts with others.