Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Increasing chaplain support for veterans at high risk for suicide through targeted outreach: A quality improvement initiative.

Smigelsky MA, Maynard JL, Ford CG, Parker R, Wortmann JH, Meador KG, Fink A, Nieuwsma JA. Increasing chaplain support for veterans at high risk for suicide through targeted outreach: A quality improvement initiative. Journal of health care chaplaincy. 2022 Oct 26; 1-13.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has prioritized improving the identification of veterans at risk for suicide and ensuring adequate staffing of personnel to assist veterans in need. It is imperative that suicide prevention efforts make use of the full range of available resources, including diverse professionals with distinctive skillsets. Chaplains are engaged in suicide prevention efforts in VA, but the literature lacks examples of chaplain-involved suicide prevention efforts that clearly describe how chaplains are engaged, the training and/or qualifications chaplains possess in the area of suicide prevention, and the reach and impact of such efforts. The purpose of this report is to describe the development and implementation of a novel, innovative, and ongoing chaplain-led suicide prevention outreach initiative for veterans at high risk for suicide. Results indicated the program was feasible and supported at the systems level, and chaplains were able to collaboratively sustain outreach efforts over the course of a year. Chaplain suicide prevention outreach was found to be acceptable to veterans, who overwhelmingly indicated openness to and appreciation for outreach. Chaplains can address the spiritual crisis underlying suicidality, bolster spiritual protective factors, and are a part of holistic care. Considerations for implementation and future investigation are discussed.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.