Thank you for your interest in Arizona’s Be Connected program! This effort officially launched on April 19, 2017, at the Statewide Symposium. We invite participation from organizations and community members. Read on for some frequently asked questions and stay tuned for more information.
What is the Be Connected Program?
Be Connected is a statewide program focused on reducing deaths by suicide in Arizona’s military and veteran population.
How did this program come about?
The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act is a federal law signed into effect in 2015. There were several states identified as pilot sites. While Arizona was not on the original list, because of our robust public/private partnership and infrastructure, the Office of Senator John McCain advocated for Arizona to be added as a pilot state.
Who are the partners?
Be Connected involves dozens of public and private sector organizations. The lead implementation group includes:
- Arizona Coalition for Military Families
- Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services
- Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS)
- Office of Senator John McCain
- TriWest Healthcare Alliance
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
What is unique about Arizona’s approach?
Be Connected is more than a suicide prevention campaign. It focuses on how each of us can make a difference in the lives of those around us by being trained and prepared to reach out or respond in a moment of need. By embedding support deep in our community, we bring the ability to help to trusted individuals in the lives of our veterans and their families.
Why is this the right approach for Arizona?
Be Connected is based on a concept that has already demonstrated significant results in Arizona. At the height of the post-9/11 deployments, the Arizona National Guard experienced the highest rate of suicides ever. Through a partnership between the Guard, the Arizona Coalition for Military Families and other key stakeholder organizations, there was a significant increase in use of supportive resources and zero suicides for the three year period the program was in operation. Be Connected expands on this success to bring this support to all service members, veterans and family members throughout Arizona.
What role to community members and organizations play in this effort?
Our community is essential to the effectiveness of Be Connected. Our goal is to ensure that every community member and organization is equipped with the knowledge, training and information to connect the service members, veterans and family members they may encounter with resources and support to address any stressors or needs.
How does an organization get involved?
Public and private sector organizations can participate by going through a partnership process, having their staff and volunteers trained and by ensuring they are connected to what is happening with Be Connected and other key military/veteran initiatives in Arizona.
How does an individual get involved?
Individuals are encouraged to equip themselves to be ready to reach out or to respond. Just like you might take a CPR or First Aid class to be prepared to assist someone with a physical health issue, you can equip yourself to be ready to help someone who is struggling mentally and emotionally. The goal isn’t for you to be the one to solve their issue, but to notice, listen, respond and get them connected to the many available supportive services across Arizona.
What do I do if I encounter someone who needs help?
First let them know you care. Second listen if they want to talk. And third connect them to support and resources.
Anyone can call the 24/7 Be Connected support line at 1-866-4AZ-VETS (1-866-429-8387) or visit www.BeConnectedAZ.org for more information.