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VA Family Interview Program

VA Family Interview Program

Introduction and Background

The Family Interview Program, based at the VA Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention, began in 2013. Our team of clinical interviewers is dedicated to ensuring that bereaved family members who have lost a Veteran to suicide have an opportunity to share their perspectives. Family members' insights help inform suicide prevention strategies for Veterans across the nation.

Family Interview Purpose

man on phoneThe purpose of the interview is to learn from family members' experiences and to help identify ways to prevent suicide among Veterans. All information shared during the interview will be kept confidential. The Family Interview Program is not a research project but rather an effort to enhance the quality of care, services, and outreach provided to all Veterans.

Family members of Veterans provide unique insights that are crucial for informing suicide prevention efforts for Veterans. Sharing your loved one’s story can make a difference and save lives.

Family Interview Process

man on phoneOnce a VA Suicide Prevention Team Member learns of a Veteran’s death by suicide, they reach out to immediate family members or next of kin with a variety of resources as well as initial information about the Family Interview Program. If you express an interest in learning more about the Family Interview Program, the Suicide Prevention Team Member will provide your contact information to our Family Interview Team. A member of the Family Interview Team will contact you to share some additional information about the program. If you are a family member or friend of a Veteran who has died by suicide and would like to reach out to the Family Interview Team directly with any questions or to schedule an interview, please email:

Participation is voluntary and involves a one-time telephone interview. Each interview is conducted by one of our experienced clinical interviewers. During the course of the hour-long interview, family members are invited to talk about their Veterans, reflect on their histories, and share information that may help other Veterans in the future.

About the Family Interview

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  • A member of our team will reach out to you to schedule a date/time that will work best for you to complete an interview.

  • Interviews usually last between 30-60 minutes and cover general questions about your Veteran’s life, knowledge of resources, and possible barriers to seeking treatment.

  • Information gathered by the Family Interview Team about your Veteran, from your perspective, may include:
-Demographic information
-Family Life
-Military History
-Social Life
-Physical and Mental Health History
-Access to Care
-Your knowledge of events leading to your Veteran’s death
-Additional Considerations/Suggestions/Comments
  • Please note: This interview is completely voluntary. The Family Interview Team understands that many of the topics may be sensitive. If, at any time, you prefer to pause or stop the interview, you are welcome to do so.

  • This is a one-time telephone interview. Based on your preferences and needs, the Family Interviewer will share resources that may be helpful. You are encouraged at the end of the call to reach back out to the team or your local VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator if you need additional support.


The Uniting for Suicide Postvention website provides resources and support for those touched by suicide loss. Visit to learn more about the impact of suicide loss, hear personal accounts of grief and healing after losing someone to suicide, and get connected to resources.

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The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention — AFSP has support groups all over the country for people who’ve lost a loved one to suicide. You can access their resources at, click on Find Support, then I’ve Lost Someone, followed by Survivor Support Groups, and search by your state. AFSP can also be reached at 1-888-333-AFSP (2377).

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The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) — TAPS is a national nonprofit organization providing compassionate care and comprehensive resources for all those grieving the death of a Military or Veteran loved one. You can access these resources by going to or by contacting them at 1-800-259-8277. They are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

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You can find information on other survivor benefits and services at or by downloading this PDF.

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If you ever feel like you’re struggling emotionally, you can utilize the Veterans Crisis Line by calling them at 988, and select option 1 when you reach the prompts. You can also text the hotline at 838255 or visit to chat online. They are also available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

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Meet the Team

We are a team of mental health professionals with years of experience working with Veterans, their family members, and loved ones.



Aaron Schock, LMSW

Aaron Schock, LMSW

Betsy Corrado, LMSW

Betsy Corrado, LMSW

Shelby Sears, BA

Shelby Sears, BA


Contact Us

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Are you interested in participating? Do you have any questions? Email the Family Interview Team at