Military and Veteran 3.0 Task Force


The Task Force’s work will support implementation of the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP), specifically Objective 2.1 (Develop, implement, and evaluate communication efforts designed to reach defined segments of the population); Objective 2.3 (Increase communication efforts conducted online that promote positive messages and support safe crisis intervention strategies); and the components of Goal 4 that focus on media reporting (Promote responsible media reporting of suicide, accurate portrayals of suicide and mental illnesses in the entertainment industry, and the safety of online content related to suicide).
The Task Force has already conducted an environmental scan of (1) materials and campaigns that promote appropriate messages that can be used or adapted for the Task Force’s target audiences and (2) guidelines for safe and effective messaging (e.g., Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide, Best Practices for Presentations by Suicide Loss and Suicide Attempt Survivors, Action Alliance Framework for Successful Messaging).
Specifically, the Task Force will focus on:
  • Establishing and disseminating standards of safe and effective messaging that promote healing, help, and hope among Service members (including National Guard and Reservists), Veterans, and their Families (SMVF). Target populations will include (1) people with lived experience (SMVF who have been suicidal or who have lost someone to suicide); (2) people who talk to the media about SMVF suicide prevention, intervention, or postvention (e.g., public affairs officers [PAOs] in the service branches, media spokespeople in the public and private sectors); and (3) SMVF and their friends who are concerned about someone they care about. The Task Force will coordinate its work with the Action Alliance’s Changing the Conversation priority co-leads and the Media Messaging Workgroup. 


  • Wendy Lakso – Co-Lead, Public Sector; Director Outreach and Training, Department of Defense Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
  • Kim Ruocco, MSW – Co-Lead, Private Sector; Chief, External Relations Officer, Suicide Prevention and Postvention, Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors (TAPS)
  • MSgt Clairmont Barnes, Manager, Suicide Prevention Branch, Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force
  • Donna Barnes, PhD, President, National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide (NOPCAS)
  • Emily Blair, Manager, Advocacy & Public Policy, Nactional Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • Cicely Burrows-McElwain, LCSW-C, Military/Veteran Affairs Liaison, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Heath Dolen, Program Administrator, Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities
  • Keita Franklin, PhD, Director, DSPO, DoD
  • COL David Linkh, Air Force Suicide Prevention Program Manager, Surgeon General of the Air Force Healthcare Operations and Research (SG3/5), U.S. Air Force
  • Jackie Maffucci, PhD, Research Director, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)
  • Megan McCarthy, Deputy Director, Suicide Prevention; VHA, VA
  • Thomas Miller, Veterans Services Team Leader, Illinois Division of Mental Health, Illinois Department of Human Services
  • David Schonberg, Chief, Suicide Prevention Branch, Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force
  • Marina Soden, Coordinator, Outreach and Training, DSPO, DoD
  • Eileen Zeller, MPH, Lead Public Health Advisor, Suicide Prevention Branch, SAMHSA, HHS