Unleashing the Power of Data and the Crowd for Upstream Suicide Prevention

Department of Veterans Affairs invites you to VASPI: Veterans Affairs Suicide Prevention Innovations

In honor of the first anniversary of President Obama’s proclamation of September 10th as World Suicide Prevention Day, the Department of Veterans Affairs will host VASPI: Veterans Affairs Suicide Prevention Innovations — a 2-day data-driven and collaborative event designed to connect a concerned community from the public and private sectors, veterans and their families, and academia to develop solutions for the prevention of Veteran suicide.

Suicide is tragic and affects too many of our Veterans and their loved ones. Tremendous efforts have been made by VA and other organizations to address this problem, some with notable achievements. However, much work remains to be done, particularly to identify, intervene, and engage Veterans earlier. Many Veterans still face challenges and barriers when it comes to accessing the necessary care and services, and finding supportive communities that have been shown to help prevent suicide. VASPI is an opportunity for leaders, coders, designers, innovators, and veterans to come together to discuss, analyze and develop innovative solutions for addressing suicide.

Public access to suicide related datasets has been sparse at best and has been a long-standing obstacle for rapid advancement of innovative solutions for suicide prevention. As part of VASPI, the collaborative community will gain access to VAs Suicide Database Repository and (for the first time) a crowd-sourced synthetic suicide dataset (hosted on Data.gov) in order to develop new approaches for upstream prevention. Access to this data will allow individuals to contribute their expertise, opening venues for multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches, and opportunities for open-data and crowd sourcing solutions. The release of this data is the first of its kind and will initiate a global open-data effort for suicide prevention. Additionally, a “demo” dataset will be developed in partnership with the LifeWire Group and their Messaging Platform. The platform engages users through their mobile phones to assist with providing feedback, follow-up and outreach to achieve an intended outcome. You can participate in growing the dataset for VASPI by texting “VAData” to 59937 and responding to the questions. Your responses, which are anonymous, will help populate and represent the synthetic dataset that is being made available on Data.gov. VACI is one of many who have already participated, and you can check out what our experience was like below:

On Friday 9th September, participants will hear the story of one Veteran’s experience of crisis and after, as well as from experts from across the VA and other organizations about the current gaps in suicide prevention, and the opportunities for change. Highlighting the opening day of VASPI, White House Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil and Dr April Foreman, Suicide Prevention Lead for Southeast Louisiana VA Healthcare system, will host a discussion about the potential for technology to improve suicide prevention. While day one is focused understanding the complexities and issues that factor into Veteran suicide, day two pools teams of participants who will work to both identify a specific challenge associated with Veteran suicide and then develop an initial solution — applying analyses from the datasets — to be later evaluated by a panel of judges. The best solutions presented at VASPI will be highlighted at the White House Open Data Innovation Summit in late September.

VASPI is a unique opportunity to learn and work with leading experts on the topic of Veteran suicide and prevention, work with previously unavailable data, and collaborate to develop transformational and lifesaving solutions. Veteran suicide is a complex and complicated issue. The numbers of Veterans that we lose each and every day to suicide are too high and too heartbreaking to allow to persist; with your help, and your expertise and enthusiasm, we can develop solutions that can prevent suicide and protect our Veterans and their families.

Please join us on Friday 9th September as we join forces to develop much-needed solutions to prevent Veteran suicide.

Registration and more details about the event can be found here:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vaspi-veterans-affairs-suicide-prevention-innovations-registration-26995976693.

Be sure to follow along tomorrow with the #VASPI tag

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