• Oct 19, 2019
  • 9:12 PM

Suicide Prevention Awareness – Mayor’s Challenge


In case many of you didn’t know, NDVS is leading a team on a national level to fight against suicide among service members, veterans and their families. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense formed the Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide.

In December of 2017, SAMHSA selected seven cities to participate, based on veteran population data, suicide prevalence rates and capacity to lead the way. The goal is to eliminate suicide by using a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. NDVS held one of the positions on the Las Vegas Mayor’s Challenge Team along with a collaborative team consisting of municipal, military and other community stakeholders.

NDVS is now excited to announce the VA and SAMHSA have selected Reno/Sparks as one of the NEXT seven cities to participate in the 2nd Annual 2019 SAMHSA Mayor’s Challenge.

“The Mayor’s Challenge provides a roadmap for how communities can contribute to the national effort of preventing veteran suicide.”

– VA Secretary Robert Wilkie

The objective of the Mayor’s Challenge is to:

1) Strengthen the capacity of interagency military and civilian team of leaders to prevent and reduce suicide among service member, veterans, and families.

2) Deepen the development of local implementation plans to align with the National Strategy for the Prevention of Veteran Suicide.

3) Acquire a deeper familiarity with the issues surrounding suicide prevention.

As for the Las Vegas Team, it is going strong after a year-and-a-half and continues to work closely with the Operation Deep Dive Grant, through the University of Alabama and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.  This effort has partnered on a four-year research study that will examine the factors and potential causes involved in suicides and early mortality due to self-harm among this identified population.

For more information: www.americaswarriorpartnership.org

The Northern Nevada Mayor’s Challenge Team has been going strong since March 2019.  The team is comprised of two Mayors; Hillary Schieve of Reno and Ron Smith of Sparks.  The combined two cities now form the Truckee Meadows Team. This team consists of state, federal, and military members, as well as the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and local community agencies.

NDVS Suicide Prevention and Homelessness Program Manager Kim Donohue, helped assemble this team. One of the many action items the Truckee Meadows Team has focused on includes, the “Ask the Question” campaign by simply asking, “Have you ever served in a branch of the Military?” It takes a deeper look at how Nevada’s military population views and identifies military service. The team is focused on educating community members to re-phrase the question from “Are you a veteran?” to “Have you ever served in the military?” This provides an opportunity to capture a larger portion of Nevada’s military population, as many do not self-identify as a veteran, for one reason or another.  The more Nevada can identify its veteran demographics, the more support, benefits and services the state will be able to provide.

September 10th is National Suicide-Prevention Day. You are invited to check our NDVS calendar for the many event’s supporting National Suicide-Prevention Month to find one near you.

Stay tuned for next month’s update on the Mayor’s Challenge Teams and how you can be involved in our State’s efforts to reduce suicide to zero!