Mental Health

Arizona Joins Seven

Arizona is one of seven states to join the Governors Challenge to prevent suicide among veterans.

What is the Governors Challenge?

The Governors Challenge is suicide prevention program hosted by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration with the goal of nationally reducing suicide rates by 20% by the year 2025. 

The challenge is based off of the Mayors Challenge that was held in March of 2018 that focused on suicide prevention at the community level in eight cities, one of which was Phoenix. The Governors Challenge takes that same program and applies it across the entire state allowing governors to work with the VA, instead of focusing on just a city.

Seven selected states met to discuss how they were going to accomplish the reduction of suicide. Over the course of three days these state leaders created plans to implement the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, which provides a framework for identifying priorities, organizing efforts and contributing to a national focus on Veteran suicide prevention. In efforts to reach this goal Governor Doug Ducey has budgeted $1.2 million for support of Arizona's military and veterans. 

Why was Arizona chosen?

Arizona was chosen because of the suicide prevention initiative Be Connected, a resource and support network for servicemembers, veterans and their families. "The Be Connected program is a statewide effort to strengthen access to support and resources for the 600,000+ service members, veterans and their families who call Arizona home." It is a program with three goals, one of which is preventing suicide, all of which align with the National Strategy for Preventing Suicide. Be Connected offers servicemembers, veterans and their families the ability to get help with almost any problem they may be facing. They show this community that they are not alone and their are resources available to help. Col. Wright a leader in Arizona's Governors Challenge said, “The community must take care ... and Be Connected is Arizona's way to do that.”

Which other states are involved?

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Texas
  • Virginia

Together, these groups are working to establish a national network where servicemembers, veterans and their families will get the support and resources they need. Governor Ducey said,"It is our responsibility as Arizonans and Americans to take care of the people that have laid their life and family on the line for our freedom." With the Governors Challenge and program like Be Connected, states are working toward doing just that. If you no someone in need of assistance contact Be Connected at their website


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