Florida Public Health Review

Publication Date



We discuss insights on a West Central Florida community-based Veterans suicide prevention effort- a series of Veterans coffee socials. Noted as a public health crisis which has been well documented, the article provides an overview of the importance of public health approaches and academic public health engagement at a local level to addressing suicide prevention at community levels. An active-duty service member’s perspective is provided that points to common pain points that that extend to the Veterans community with reintegration challenges. A community-based participatory research methodology has been applied which stressed the importance of community partners (e.g., public, private and academic) coming together from across two counties to start an evolving series of monthly coffee socials.

Key focus is placed on strengthening social connectedness, reducing stigma related to mental health and wellbeing for Veterans and active-duty service members, and expanding awareness about resources available to help those in need. Theoretical perspective links this issue to both the importance of social capital building and the need for an expanded view of the interpersonal theory of suicide.

This commentary offers preliminary points on the first 6-months of these Veterans coffee socials with anecdotal data from post-program evaluation surveys. Conclusions and implications for practice are framed how a simple yet complex intervention can make an impact and help their community’s Veterans and other at-risk populations in suicide prevention outreach.