The Operation Deep Dive suicide prevention study examines the factors and potential causes involved in suicide and non-natural deaths among Veterans. The project specifically studies the community environment impact, an area that has been absent from past research.

America’s Warrior Partnership leads the study with researchers from the University of Alabama and support from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. Operation Deep Dive conducts studies in 14 communities nationwide. By the study’s completion in 2021, researchers aim to have a methodology that any community can implement to identify the unique risk factors of suicide within their area.

Currently, the researchers investigate the lives of Veterans lost to suicide or non-natural causes within the last 12 months. They are doing this by interviewing those who knew the Veteran best: their friends, family and co-workers.

These “deep dive” interviews examine the last 6-12 months of the Veteran’s life. Researchers determine how each Veteran was engaged within their community and identify the gaps in services that needed to be filled in order to better support Veterans in the future.

Join the Fight

Operation Deep Dive needs your help. If you know a Veteran who has died by suicide or non-natural causes in the last 12 months, please consider joining the fight as an interview participant. Losing a loved one to suicide can be a traumatic experience, but by participating in one of these interviews, your insight will contribute greatly to the formation of a proactive approach to preserving the life of service members and Veterans in the future.

Researchers seek interviewees 18 years or older and located within one of the communities listed below. The Veteran that an interviewee knew must’ve also lived in that same community prior to their death. The list:

    1. Atlanta, Ga.
    2. Upstate, S.C.
    3. Panhandle, Fla.
    4. Orange County, Calif.
    5. Southern Ala.
    6. Syracuse, N.Y.
    7. Houston, Texas
    8. Twin Cities, Minn.
    9. Charlotte, N.C.
    10. Las Vegas, Nev.
    11. Phoenix, Ariz.
    12. Tristate Ohio
    13. Coastal South Carolina
    14. Indianapolis, Ind.

Non-natural causes of death include overdose, asphyxiation, accidental gunshot, drowning, suicide by law enforcement, and high-speed single drive accidents.

If you would like additional information about being a participant, please visit the Operation Deep Dive web page.

The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on part of the VA.

This story is part of the Secretary’s Priorities series, which was outlined to the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Military Constructions, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies on Feb. 26, 2019, by VA Secretary Wilkie. The Secretary’s Priorities are Customer Service, MISSION Act, Electronic Health Record, Transforming Business Systems, and Suicide Prevention. These stories are designed to give a closer look at the improvements VA is making in how we relate to, interact with, and ultimately serve our Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors.

Share this story

Published on May. 26, 2020

Estimated reading time is 2.3 min.

Views to date: 288


  1. Miyoko N. Bell May 29, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    It is clear there is a disconnect between VA providers, the Military system and our Federal Government. Programs that are out there to help often do not help because they “Encourage the Veteran to do it themselves. “. When you are stressed, dysfunctional and at a disconnect with everything, you come to the end of your rope quickly. Failure of the system to always be self serve when you can barely manage is quite short sited by those agencies listed above. Our systems are convoluted and difficult to manage. Trying to manage when you are constantly triggered and tying to just manage not acting out with triggers is impossible when you don’t have a healthy support group. The system needs to realize that Veterans need people to do/manage systems for them. I have many issues that the government still has not resolved regarding money being taken and money that is still owed me. On person told me to just give up on it. Really, I don’t think that is fare. The government created these issues, I would think they could help with the same and stop making people just end their lives because they cannot cope with the system and their own emotional turmoil.

  2. Mike May 27, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    I’m a suicide survivor. No way I should have survived, God decided otherwise. It’s a complete and utter loss of hope. I even had myself convinced my young children would be better off without me. Let me know if this program radiates to Colorado…I’m in. Mike

    • Krystal Garcia May 29, 2020 at 8:54 am

      Hi Mike, my name is Krystal Garcia and I am the Program Associate for Operation Deep Dive. I’d love to talk with you about this study and answer any questions you may have, if you could reach out to me


Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • American Corporate Partners' mentoring program pairs Veterans with Fortune 500 corporate professionals for free, one-on-one mentorships.

  • To support Purple Heart Veterans, the Warrior Bonfire Program organizes small outdoor retreats, including hiking, horseback riding and fishing.

  • VA’s latest National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report shows encouraging downward trends in Veteran suicide counts and rates, yet ongoing critical work remains.