Wounded Warrior Project, Inc.

Ending the global suicide epidemic – beginning with veterans

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Suicide is a global epidemic with 800,000 people dying each year. That’s one person every 40 seconds. Certain factors increase suicide risk. These include mental and physical health issues, environmental stressors and traumatic personal experiences. Suicide does not discriminate and can impact anyone in the world, especially veterans who are 1.5 times more likely to die from suicide. WWP’s unprecedented work with injured veterans over the past 15+ years has resulted in an evidence-based intervention model that measurably reduces suicide risk by increasing resiliency and improving psychological well-being. Our innovative approach is saving lives. But this is not enough - we must do more to end the global suicide epidemic. WWP will scale beyond the hundreds of thousands of veterans it currently serves to reach millions of veterans at risk. We will then expand our solution to reach other at-risk populations around the world.

Problem Statement

Suicide is a global epidemic with more than 800,000 people dying each year. That’s one person every 40 seconds. In the U.S., suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. Mental and physical health issues, environmental stressors and traumatic personal experiences increase a person’s suicide risk. Suicide does not discriminate and can affect anyone in the world, including the more than 20 million American veterans living today who are 1.5 times more likely to die of suicide. The youngest veterans, those 18-34 years old, have the highest suicide rate. In fact, of the 2.8 million men and women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, one-third have returned home with officially recognized injuries or disabilities. But it’s estimated thousands more live with physical and emotional scars that are not reported, documented or treated. But all these statistics don’t tell the full story. Suicidal ideations and completed suicides often go unreported or are misclassified due to the stigma that surrounds suicide and mental health issues. Limited access to timely and impactful mental health treatment adds another layer of difficulty, especially for veterans. This equates to a much larger societal issue than what is captured in statistics. Reducing suicide risk in veterans requires an innovative, multidisciplinary approach that de-stigmatizes suicide, increases resiliency, improves psychological well-being and fills critical gaps in care – an approach that can be replicated and deployed to at-risk populations around the world.

Solution Overview

WWP’s unparalleled work with veterans over the past 15+ years has resulted in a proven, evidence-based intervention model that measurably reduces suicide risk by increasing resiliency and improving psychological well-being. This innovative and multidisciplinary approach combines clinical, non-clinical and alternative mental and physical health support with meaningful social connection and empowerment. WWP has seen significant positive outcomes as measured by various mental health assessment tools with the majority of participant veterans experiencing substantial increases in resiliency and improvements in psychological well-being. In short, WWP’s intervention model is saving lives. Our intervention model works. But we must do more. To scale our intervention model and make a lasting impact on suicide, WWP will: • Destigmatize suicide through a national awareness campaign targeting veterans and caregivers resulting in more than 5 billion media impressions. • Expand key intervention programs that reduce the risk of suicide by increasing resiliency, improving psychological well-being, filling critical gaps in care and serving an additional 15,000 to 20,000 veterans each year. • Assess, refine and share our work with national and international organizations and agencies working to combat suicide in other at-risk populations around the world.

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