Online Program

Promoting help seeking to Veterans: An examination of the VA's Veterans Crisis Line campaign

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Elizabeth Karras, PhD, Department of Veterans Affairs, VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention, Canandaigua, NY
Robert Bossarte, Ph.D., VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention
Although public communication about military and Veteran suicide is prevalent, much of this messaging focuses on risk with comparatively little emphasis on help seeking or effective treatment. This can be problematic and potentially harmful as it may reaffirm one's mental health-related issues without promoting available resources for care. As such, direction is needed in the development of safe, effective messaging targeting these populations. This presentation will provide guidance in this area by discussing the formative research process for the “It's Your Call” campaign developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). “It's Your Call,” is a multi-media suicide prevention campaign aimed at increasing awareness and the use of the Veterans Crisis Line and confidential chat services among Veterans and their families and friends. Specific examples from this campaign (e.g., design elements such as Veteran-centric imagery and language) will be presented to elucidate how health communication principles (e.g., tailoring v. targeting) and theories of persuasion (e.g., elaboration likelihood model) informed this messaging and reinforce VA suicide prevention initiatives. The importance of identifying culturally appropriate dissemination strategies for this audience will also be discussed, as recognizing trusted media enhances message delivery and influences consumption. Finally, preliminary evaluation data for this campaign will demonstrate how sufficient exposure to messaging can produce durable attitude (e.g., towards help seeking) and behavioral change (e.g., calls to the crisis line).

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the need for science-based suicide prevention messaging. Discuss how to create safe, effective suicide prevention messaging targeted towards Veteran populations. Describe the VA’s “It’s Your Call” suicide prevention campaign. Identify durable attitude and behavioral change associated with campaign exposure.

Keyword(s): Health Communications, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered