The Fire Watch was formed in November 2019 by Baker County, Clay County, Nassau County, St. Johns County and the City of Jacksonville to lead coordinated efforts to end veteran suicide in Northeast Florida. The region is home to over 1,500,000 residents and 150,000 U.S. military veterans.
Over 6,000 U.S. veterans die by suicide each year, including more than 500 in Florida. The highest rate of suicide among veterans is in the age group 18 to 34. That is also the largest age demographic separating from active duty every year. This means that the veteran suicide problem is only worsening.
The VA has invested significantly in mental health over the past decade to address veterans in crisis. Yet, the suicide rate continues to rise. The Fire Watch believes that the solution is community-based. Specifically, the more opportunities our community can provide to alter a Veteran’s unique trajectory toward acute crisis, the lower we can drive the rate of Veteran suicide in our community.