Introduction: Veteran suicide remains an ongoing public health concern in need of fresh, community-based initiatives. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has built an enterprise-wide integrated behavioral health system that has pioneered numerous suicide prevention methods. However, most Veterans receive healthcare outside the VA, from organizations that may not be equipped to address Veteran suicide risk. One solution is implementing a VA/community suicide prevention learning collaborative to support organizations in implementing suicide prevention best practices for Veterans. Although learning collaboratives have a history of supporting improved patient safety in healthcare systems, to our knowledge, none have focused on Veteran suicide prevention.
Method: The current quality improvement project sought to pilot a VA/community suicide prevention learning collaborative in the broader Denver and Colorado Springs areas with 13 organizations that served, interacted with, or employed Veterans.
Results: The collaborative had a large footprint in the region, with organizations interacting with over 24,000 community members and over 5000 Veterans. Organizations implemented 92 Veteran suicide prevention program components within a 16-month period. Overall, the learning collaborative made significant strides in Veteran suicide prevention.
Conclusion: Findings suggest that this method facilitates rapid implementation of Veteran suicide prevention practices and may be promising for accelerating uptake within communities.