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Doctor of Social Work (DSW)



Veteran suicide deaths remain between 16 and 18 daily despite over two decades of research and programming focused on suicide risk identification, therapeutic intervention, and suicide prevention. As research on suicidality among veterans and active-duty military continues, so do the efforts to develop new suicide prevention plans, interventions, and programs. When does one admit that suicide prevention strategies alone are not working? This paper introduces the application of a strengths-based case management approach to mitigating suicidality using a veteran’s inherent and communal protective factors. A new approach to mitigating suicidality emerges through the in-depth analysis of existing literature, a discussion of theoretical foundations addressing veteran suicide, and a case study demonstrating the strengths-based case management approach with a military veteran focusing on building protective factors to mitigate suicidality.

The systematic literature review, SLR, identified peer-reviewed journal articles published between 2012 and 2022. Two articles met the criteria when applied to the inclusion and exclusion standards. The need for articles demonstrates the gap in the literature on using strengths-based case management with veterans to mitigate suicidality. In the theoretical framework, self-determination theory, SDT, and basic psychological needs theory, BPNT, are expanded upon, demonstrating the link between the failure to achieve basic psychological needs, BPN, and suicidality. Attaining self-efficacy, social connection, and self-governance illustrate the achievement of basic psychological needs and reduced suicidality. The new service member enlists to satisfy their BPN. Transitioning from the armed forces creates a situation where the veteran’s BPNs change to reflect their unique role in civilian society. The strengths-based case management model centers on the veteran leading goal and protective factor identification. Together, the veteran and social work case manager identify barriers to BPN achievement and develop a plan applying strengths and protective factors to address the barriers.

Available for download on Saturday, May 31, 2025

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