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Quantifying relational change in community organisations participating in a Veteran suicide prevention learning collaborative: a social network analysis

This newly published study leveraged SNA using PARTNER CPRM to quantify relational changes in community organizations working collaborative to prevent veteran suicide. Read the abstract and the full study below.

Suicide among Veterans remains a grave concern in the United States, with an average of 17.5 Veterans dying by suicide each day. In response to this, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has expanded its suicide prevention strategies beyond its facilities to include community settings. A recent study conducted in the Denver/Colorado Springs region has utilized our social network analysis tool, PARTNER CPRM, to enhance these efforts through a collaborative learning approach.

The study, led by the Patient Safety Center of Inquiry – Suicide Prevention Collaborative, embarked on a 16-month multimodal initiative. The primary objective was to integrate community organizations with VA services and facilitate the adoption of Veteran-specific suicide prevention strategies within these organizations.

Study Methods and Approach

The initiative involved multiple agencies that engaged in a learning collaborative aimed at piloting suicide prevention strategies. Agencies were evaluated at three different stages: baseline (T1), one year (T2), and at 16 months (T3), using the PARTNER CPRM tool to assess the evolution of their social networks and collaborations.

Key Findings

  • Increased Collaborative Relationships: The study noted an increase in the number of collaborative relationships from 30 at the start of the study to 41 by the end of the 16 months.
  • Deepening Relationship Quality: Initially, relationships among the organizations were categorized as being aware or merely cooperative. Over time, these evolved into more coordinated and integrated collaborations.

Implications and Conclusion

The results of this study underscore the effectiveness of learning collaboratives in facilitating the implementation of suicide prevention strategies within community organizations. By improving both the quantity and quality of interorganizational relationships, these collaboratives help in creating a robust network that supports Veterans.

The increased engagement and enhanced partnership dynamics not only strengthen the community’s capacity to support at-risk Veterans but also ensure that these efforts are grounded in the latest evidence-based practices.

Moving Forward

This study provides a model that can be replicated in other regions to enhance Veteran suicide prevention efforts nationwide. The use of tools like PARTNER CPRM is crucial in mapping and strengthening the networks that are vital to these efforts, ensuring a stronger and more effective safety net for our Veterans.

This study exemplifies how targeted interventions and collaborative strategies can lead to significant improvements in community-based Veteran support systems. By continuing to foster these partnerships and expand our understanding of effective strategies through research, we can hope to see a decrease in Veteran suicides in the future.

Picture of About the Author: Alex Derr, MPA
About the Author: Alex Derr, MPA

Alex is Director of Marketing & Communications at Visible Network Labs. His interests include public policy, environmental conservation, and the intersection of grassroots advocacy and digital communication strategies.

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