America’s Warrior Partnership (AWP) is a non-profit organization that aims to prevent veteran suicide. By partnering with communities, AWP starts at the community level in order to get a basic understanding of what needs need to be met. AWP also connects local veteran-serving organizations with the appropriate resources that align with their mission. The ultimate goal of AWP is to improve the quality of life for veterans and to end veteran suicide through community empowerment.
AWP is driven by four pillars: connect, educate, advocate, and collaborate. Through connecting, the organization aims to build trusting relationships with veterans, and connect them and their communities to vital resources. Education lies in informing the veterans of the resources available to them in addition to educating the community as a whole about the struggles veterans face. Advocation involves raising awareness on behalf of veterans and their families, and also making sure the community is committed to helping veterans. Through collaboration, AWP hopes to set veterans and their families up for success by creating a holistic plan and working with all the support available. These are the guiding principles for AWP. Jim Lorraine, the president and CEO of AWP, served in the United States Air Force as a Flight Nurse with nine combat deployments and retired as the Deputy Command Surgeon for the U.S. Special Operations Command after 22 years of service.
“Our approaches, we call it upstream, to get way upstream from the crisis, build a relationship early on, help veterans and their families know that somebody has their back, and that they're not alone,” Lorraine said to WGCU. “And then we will help them get connected to services or resources that improve their quality of life and as their quality of life improves, what happens is that their risk for suicide goes down.”
AWP also did a study called “Operation Deep Dive” where they found that former service members commit suicide at a rate 2.4x greater than that reported by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"[The study] helps us understand the veteran who has the highest probability for taking their life within a given community,” Lorraine told WGCU.
Clearly, the work of AWP is vital, as it truly can be a matter of life and death. To learn more about AWP and vital work, visit the website here.
Photo credit: Courtesy of America’s Warrior Partnership’s Instagram