13 Years of Sharing Arizona’s Innovation


August 19, 2022 marked 13 years since the founding of the Arizona Coalition for Military Families! Since the Coalition was established, our Arizona approach to building capacity and support for our 500,000+ service members, veterans, and their families has been a point of interest for other communities across the country. Our team has provided technical assistance to every state and territory over the past decade, sharing best practices for community collaboration and upstream prevention, and that work continues to this day.

At the beginning of August, an Arizona team traveled to Washington, D.C.  to participate in an Innovations Conference for the Governor’s and Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families. At the event, the Arizona team joined teams from almost every other state and territory to focus on how to advance our collective effort to prevent suicide.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hosted the event. Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services Director Wanda Wright and ACMF Project Director Nicola Winkel presented during breakout sessions. Be Connected was highlighted as part of the Families and Caregivers Track, discussing the importance of addressing social determinants of health for families.

Here are some of the main takeaways from that discussion:

  • Established in 2017, Be Connected is Arizona’s upstream prevention program to support Arizona’s 500,000+ service members, veterans, and their families across all social determinants of health.
  • The Arizona Coalition for Military Families team has provided technical assistance to all 54 state and territory teams over the last decade in Arizona, on-site in states, at events, and virtually to share our best practices so all of the nation’s service members, veterans, and their families benefit from what we do.
  • Be Connected leverages a public health approach to suicide prevention that includes proactive prevention, crisis response, and treatment.
  • Be Connected’s Upstream Prevention model focuses on early intervention across all of the social determinants of health using a data-driven, layered prevention approach.
  • Be Connected Community Corps is one way that we’re creating a force multiplier. By training and equipping community members to be an “open door” to support, we are bringing services and support into the community through these helpers.

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Be Connected and ConnectVeterans.org are provided in partnership by:

Special thanks to the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family for their partnership and support.

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