Public and Behavioral Health
Colorado Behavioral Health Administration
Veteran Suicide Prevention Pilot Program
Literature Review, Resource Assessment and Evaluation of Pilot Project
Colorado Senate Bill 21-129, signed by Governor Polis on June 23, 2021, established a pilot program to reduce the suicide rate among military veterans. The Evaluation Center at the University of Colorado Denver was hired by the Behavioral Health Administration to conduct a literature review and a resource assessment ahead of program launch and to conduct a multi-year evaluation of the pilot program, led by the contracted healthcare provider, UCHealth.
UCHealth partnered with Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center and National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) Colorado Springs to provide an array of wrap around services for veterans and their family members. A major component of the initiative, called Next Chapter, is to establish a single access point: an avenue for a veteran or family member to inquire or request services at a single point. By design, if an individual requests services via the website (Nextchapterco.org) or calls the hotline (1-888-719-VETS), any necessary care coordination is done behind the scenes. Individuals seeking care experience a seamless connection to multiple resources with few bureaucratic barriers. In addition to clinical services, Next Chapter provides services through one-on-one peer support as well as group peer support to veterans, their family members, and children of veterans through NAMI and Silver Key Senior Services.
To ensure a standard of quality care for veterans and military families, UCHealth requires that all clinicians providing services under the Next Chapter program demonstrate cultural competency in military and veteran culture. To assist with this, UCHealth and partners implement regular provider and organizational trainings on how to appropriately provide care and services to veterans and their families.
This initiative is combined with marketing efforts to ensure the El Paso County community is aware of services, aware of the need for veteran suicide prevention efforts, and that Next Chapter services become a trusted entity in the veteran and military community.
The Evaluation Center’s work began with a literature review and a comprehensive community assessment to understand the scope of veteran-specific suicide prevention efforts in El Paso County. This provided foundational data to inform the design of the new pilot program. Once the provider, UCHealth, was hired, The Evaluation Center team began regular meetings with the team to build understanding of the pilot program and the evaluation approach. The program logic model, evaluation questions, evaluation plan and draft instruments were developed in collaboration with the provider and funder over a three-month period. Evaluators used a mixed-methods approach by administering surveys, conducting semi-structure interviews with the UCHealth team and project partners, and assessed data related to program marketing, enrollment, and single access point reach.
January 2022 – Ongoing
Veterans and their families in El Paso and Teller Counties
- UCHealth Memorial Health System
- Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Colorado Springs
- Silver Key Senior Services