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Suicide Mortality Review Cooperative Agreements

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Suicide Mortality Review Cooperative Agreements

Announcements

VA has published the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for Suicide Mortality Review Cooperative Agreements (SMR-CA). The NOFO can be viewed at https://grants.gov/search-results-detail/354397.

SMR-CA applications need to be submitted electronically within the VA grants management system at https://hmlsgrants-va.mod.udpaas.com/s_Login.jsp by July 24, 2024 at 4:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

Technical assistance webinar recordings, which include information about funding priorities, eligibility, application requirements, the submission process, and scoring criteria, are available below. The slide deck used in the webinar is also available.

Last updated: July 16, 2024

About the Cooperative Agreements

The Suicide Mortality Review Cooperative Agreements (SMR-CA) supports states, territories, and Tribal entities in establishing, coordinating, and managing Suicide Mortality Review Committees (SMRCs) to identify and characterize suicide deaths and support the capacity to develop and implement data-informed strategies to prevent suicide, including suicide among Veterans.

Suicide Mortality Reviews (SMRs) are systematic and comprehensive reviews of deaths that are intended to develop recommended strategies to prevent future deaths. SMRs are conducted by SMR Committees, which access multiple sources of clinical and non-clinical information that provide a deeper understanding of the circumstances surrounding a death. The SMRCs then develop recommendations for action to prevent similar deaths in the future.

SMR-CA aims to establish and increase the capacity of states, territories, and Tribes to collect high-quality uniform suicide death data, expand suicide death reviews, and ultimately translate data into suicide prevention actions at community, state, territorial, Tribal, and national levels. States, territories, and Tribes may identify key counties, cities, municipalities, or other political subdivisions in their own jurisdictions with whom they wish to coordinate for local SMRC development and implementation.

These cooperative agreements are part of a broader Suicide Mortality Review Program within the Governor’s and Mayor’s Challenges to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families Program (Governor’s Challenge). The Governor’s Challenge program is a collaboration between VA and the Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration focused on bringing state, territory, and Tribal policy makers and leaders together to develop and implement a comprehensive suicide prevention plan.

Funding applied for under this NOFO is authorized by section 303 of Division V of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (P.L. 117-328), which states that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may enter into agreements with states, territories, and American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes for the development and implementation of veteran suicide prevention proposals through the Governor’s Challenge program.

Frequently Asked Questions

A cooperative agreement is a financial assistance mechanism where VA anticipates substantial involvement with the recipient during the period of performance. Both grants and cooperative agreements are awarded when a federal agency is providing assistance; cooperative agreements occur when substantial involvement by the agency is anticipated.

Organizations that are eligible for this cooperative agreement include American Indian, Alaskan Native Tribal governments, states, and territories (states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa).

Awards made for SMR-CA are anticipated to be funded by September 30, 2024. This is anticipated to be a one-year award with an optional one-year extension possible.

The population focus for this funding opportunity is all people at risk of suicide in a given jurisdiction, with prioritization given to applicants focusing on veterans. VA may also prioritize awards to applicants that intend to focus on SMR activities in rural communities, territories, or Tribal lands.

Scoring criteria is included in the Notice of Funding Opportunity listed on grants.gov.

SMR-CA applications need to be submitted electronically within the VA grants management system at https://hmlsgrants-va.mod.udpaas.com/s_Login.jsp by July 24, 2024 at 4:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

You can visit the following website to learn about some suicide mortality review efforts and resources that exist currently: Suicide Mortality Review | SAMHSA.

Logic models should be provided for each application. A sample template is provided here our website under the Resources section. We would suggest reviewing in detail Tables 1 and 2 (pages 6 and 9) in the NOFO that provide more detail around the components for your outcomes (short term, intermediate, and long-term) in the context of the unique culture and climate you have in your own state/territories/tribes. Please note there are required performance outcomes outlined in those tables for each focus area that need to be addressed. For instance, what is your population for [sample county(s)] and what type of key partners are unique to that area. Personalize the model based on the jurisdictions you plan to support with those efforts. Ensure you are listing your specific county or counties (etc) included in your planning, names of actual organizational partners who you plan to build or strengthen relationships with, and key populations that are tied to the data on the population of your geographic areas. Cultural context is key to the type of areas served. For instance, an area that has a lethal means rate of over 75% death by firearm, but only submits a plan to focus on medication storage, is not addressing the unique population risk for that jurisdiction.

The “personnel resume” request is intended for those whose salary would be supported by the cooperative agreements. For instance, if you have a coordinator who will be managing the coordination of the SMRCs, you would include that individual’s resume. If you are planning to hire positions as part of the cooperative agreement, position descriptions are a good alternative to submit.

As the NOFO outlines, awardees will be required to enter SMR committee findings and recommendations into an agreed upon case-reporting system. We are pleased to report that VA is working with a well-established mortality review center to develop an independent, free, nationally available suicide mortality case-reporting system. It is anticipated that this new system will be available in the first quarter of fiscal year 2025 (fiscal year begins October 1). SMR cooperative agreement awardees who already have a reliable suicide mortality case-reporting system in place may discuss the matter with their designated VA cooperative agreement liaison.

We are not requiring a specific template for the organizational chart. Ideally, we’d like to see an organizational chart that at a minimum identifies the lead program that will be overseeing the SMR work. For example, if your Health Department is the lead agency applying for the cooperative agreement, is there a specific program within the Health Department that will be managing the SMR work? We’d want to see that program highlighted and the organizational chart for that particular program.

Resources

Contact Us

For more information about Suicide Mortality Review Cooperative Agreements, contact us at VASuicideMortalityReviewTeam@va.gov.

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