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Memorial Day 2022: Suicide Prevention Funding

Below is an announcement from the VA about funds available to reduce veteran suicides. A few facts might help in crafting a submission.

* Before you finish reading this, another veteran will have attempted suicide. Today, more than 60 Veterans will attempt to kill themselves; 20 will succeed.  

* This ongoing catastrophe is decimating Veterans and their families. Since post 9/11, 877,450 warfighters were brain wounded. Most of these injuries went unreported, undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed. The hallmarks of wounded brains are PTSD, sleeplessness, brain fog, headaches, pain, anger, frustration, depression, and suicidal ideation.  

* The suicide epidemic afflicting service members has not subsided since 2005, with over 109,500 deaths attributed to suicide, twice the amount of combat deaths in Vietnam and over fifteen times the number of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Opioid Epidemic has claimed another 109,206 of lives through drug overdoses.

* The VA mental health budget from 2008 to 2020 has spent $86.1 billion on suicide prevention plans and programs and conferences and strategies. Another $7.7 billion has been spent on research and drugs and interventions, none of which are approved by the FDA for treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury. Slogans like “If you see something, say something” and “Suicide is Everbody’s Job” do not heal brain wounds that can lead to suicidal ideation. 

* Continuing with the same failed treatment protocol continues to fuel the suicide and opioid epidemics while costing the US taxpayer an estimated $118.1 billion per year in societal costs. That amounts to a projected cost of $4.7 trillion over 40-year life span for over 877,450 brain wounded Veterans.

* A scientifically validated FDA-approved treatment is being used worldwide to treat brain wounds. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for decades has produced provable, measurable success in treating both Veterans and active-duty warfighters with invisible brain wounds.  9,500 successes and over 20 scientific studies attest that HBOT heals brain wounds and reduces or eliminates suicidal ideation. During HBOT treatment, Veterans average a 50 percent reduction in drug intake while greatly reducing symptoms associated with PTSD and TBI: headaches, anxiety levels, suicidal ideation, depression, pain, sleeplessness, brain fog, lack of self-control, and violent outbursts. HBOT helps heal the brain

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The US Dept. of Veterans Affairs has launched open submissions for Mission Daybreak, a $20 million grand challenge to reduce Veteran suicides. Phase 1 calls on innovators to develop suicide prevention solutions that meet the diverse needs of Veterans.

We’re getting the word out to experts across a broad range of sectors such as health technology, community resilience, and clinical research, and wanted to make sure you were aware of this opportunity. Will you help us spread the word?

Phase 1 submissions are due by July 8. 

If you are interested in participating in the challenge, we encourage you to pull your team together immediately and register for the June 7 virtual information session to learn more and ask questions.


Mission Daybreak quick facts

  • Seeks concept papers for the development of novel suicide prevention solutions that center on the diverse needs of Veterans. Entrants should describe a proposed solution, its impact on a specific Veteran communitie, an evidence framework, team expertise, and any additional resources needed to develop and scale the solution. 
  • Will award $8.5 million in Phase 1. 30 Phase 1 winners will each receive $250,000 and advance to Phase 2. An additional 10 teams will each receive a Promise Award of $100,000.
  • Phase 1 submissions are due by 4:59 p.m. ET on July 8, 2022. See the submission form.