Lethal Means Safety (LMS) Training Communication Campaign
Client: Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Office of Healthcare Transformation (OHT), Strategic Engagement Team (SET)
Category: Strategic Communications | Communications/Public Relations | 129c. Other ____________ | External Communications Campaign
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Titan Alpha developed a strategic communications campaign to promote VA’s Lethal Means Safety (LMS) training opportunities to health-care providers who care for Veterans. The campaign consisted of strategic communication products such as talking points for leaders, newsletter articles for organizational and academic publications, and a chat sheet with conversation prompts to help providers discuss the LMS training with their colleagues.
Veteran suicide prevention is VA’s highest clinical priority, but we can’t do it alone. Suicide is preventable, and everyone has a role to play. Community health care providers inside and outside of VA’s Community Care Network play a significant role in providing support to Veterans in crisis and at risk for suicide. As part of VA’s National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, VA offers two LMS training courses to help health-care providers talk to Veterans about secure storage of firearms and medications. This training is critical because Veterans seek care through many avenues both inside and outside VA. Every health care contact with a Veteran is an opportunity to prevent suicide and help save a life. This campaign aimed to increase
the number of community providers who completed the trainings, which would equip them with the knowledge and ability to help Veteran patients in crisis.
The LMS Training Communication Campaign primarily targeted community health-care providers outside of VA’s network, encouraging them to take the trainings and spread the word to their colleagues. To gauge the effectiveness of the campaign’s messaging with this audience, the team gathered feedback from the Minority Outreach Communications Group, a panel created by the communications team that includes team members from VA’s offices representing diverse groups of Veterans (e.g., Offices
of Rural Health, Tribal Health, and Women’s Health). This was the first campaign in a broader grassroots effort to reach private-sector medical partners who may have contact with Veterans. The project’s initial goal was for 2,500 community providers to complete the training by the end of September 2023. As of the end of August 2023, 3,083 visits had been made to the training courses due to the communication products (based on custom link analytics), and 2,495 community providers had completed the trainings. This represents a 116% increase compared to the baseline number of course completions (1,152) before the campaign was launched.
The LMS Training Communication Campaign Toolkit was shared with internal and external stakeholders on VA’s website and via targeted emailing from VA clinical leaders to external clinical leaders.
Federal Team (Client):
Kristen Schabert, Communications Specialist, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Melissa Heinlein Storti, Communications Specialist, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Elizabeth Andringa, SET Deputy Manager, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Melodee Mercer, SET Manager, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Jennifer Askey, Portfolio Manager, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Titan Alpha Team:
Kelsey Parrish, Senior Consultant, Titan Alpha
Brent Lance, Jr., Graphic Designer, Titan Alpha
Veronica Miller, Manager, Titan Alpha
Noah Albro, Vice President, Titan Alpha