A coalition of corporations, foundations, nonprofits and veteran-focused organizations have joined together to raise awareness and support for veteran suicide prevention efforts.
The new initiative, known as Face the Fight, hopes to cut the veteran suicide rate in half by 2030.
Established by USAA and The USAA Foundation, with the Humana Foundation and Reach Resilience, an Endeavors Foundation, as founding partners, the mission of the initiative is to break the stigma of seeking help, increase the conversation about the problem and complement the efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and other organizations.
According to Face the Fight, more than 120,000 veterans have died by suicide 2001. The initiative will provide funding and philanthropic grants to nonprofit organizations that can help stop veteran suicide. USAA and The USAA Foundation seeded a coalition-backed philanthropic fund with an initial $10 million in grants. As founding partners, the Humana Foundation made a three-year, $6 million philanthropic commitment and Reach Resilience made a five-year, $25 million commitment.
“The launch of Face the Fight is an important milestone in the fight against veteran suicide and will help significantly ease the challenges experienced by veterans and their families,” said Bruce D. Broussard, Humana President and CEO.
Over the past year, USAA has worked with a team of experts, including The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the VA, the DoD, RAND Corporation and nonprofit alliances to design philanthropic strategies and identify outcomes necessary to stop veteran suicide.
“We are really looking at filling in unintentional gaps and really focusing on evidence-informed interventions in community settings,” said Katy Dondanville, director of STRONG STAR Training Initiative at UT San Antonio.
The initial $41 million in philanthropic grants will focus on supporting nonprofit programs in specific focus areas, including the expansion of suicide prevention and training programs, clinical fellowships to strengthen the pipeline of qualified clinicians and distribution of tools to veteran service organizations, the legal community and other entities who work with veterans.
Sonya Medina Williams, Reach Resilience president and CEO, called veteran suicide a national crisis.
“An estimated 50,000 more veterans will die by suicide this decade if we don’t act now,” she said. “As part of our mission to serve communities and people in crisis, we are committed to Face the Fight with USAA and the Humana Foundation. Together, we will break the silence around veteran suicide and spark a national conversation about military life, mental health, and the need for our country to show up for our veterans and ensure that no one is left behind.”
To learn more about Face the Fight or to find help, visit here.
Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.