Stop Soldier Suicide Named a Finalist in $20 Million Mission Daybreak Grand Challenge to Reduce Veteran Suicide

WASHINGTON, DC [September 19, 2022] - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has named Stop Soldier Suicide a finalist in Mission Daybreak - a $20 million challenge designed to develop and accelerate new Veteran suicide prevention solutions. As a finalist, Stop Soldier Suicide has earned a $250,000 award and advances to Phase 2 of the challenge.

Stop Soldier Suicide’s solution, Black Box Project, leverages artificial intelligence to bridge critical gaps in traditional suicide prevention models.

“We couldn’t be more honored by this humbling award and recognition of our team’s life-saving work,” said Chris Ford, Stop Soldier Suicide’s CEO. “When I joined the team nearly four years ago, we had no idea if we were saving lives or how we might do so. Fast forward to today, and we now have evidence that our suicide-specific care saves lives and this award, heavily based on our patent-pending innovation, validates the amazing work my team does day in, day out.”

Ford and Glenn Devitt, Stop Soldier Suicide’s CTO, are co-inventors of Black Box Project, a pioneering innovation that that uses artificial intelligence, namely machine learning, to gain a clearer picture of suicide risk among service members and veterans (SMVs).

Black Box Project employs digital forensics to collect and process data from smartphones, tablets, laptops and similar devices of SMVs who have died by suicide and supplements that information with open-source intelligence from the SMV’s last year of life. Machine learning algorithms, natural language processing, and entity extraction techniques are then used to build models of pre-suicidal behaviors highly correlated with suicide, which will further sharpen our understanding of risk among SMVs.

Traditional suicide prevention models have proven as effective as a coin flip because they ignore critical gaps on where to find and how to reach suicidal SMVs in their last days, weeks, and months. Black Box Project bridges those gaps by not only producing a customized model that informs risk level assessment based on digital behaviors, but also by creating a lookalike profile of military suicide derived from exclusive, first-party data.

During Phase 2 of the challenge, finalists will join a virtual accelerator program designed to develop roadmaps for prototyping, iteration, testing and evaluation. Technology partners supporting the accelerator include Amazon and Microsoft.

In November, finalists will present their solutions to key stakeholders, investors and partners at Demo Day, a live pitch event. Phase 2 will award an additional $11.5 million in prizes.

For more information on Mission Daybreak, visit missiondaybreak.net.

About Stop Soldier Suicide
Stop Soldier Suicide (SSS) is the only national nonprofit focused solely on reducing the military suicide rate. Our vision is a nation where service members and veterans have no greater risk of suicide than any other American. The goal of SSS is to reduce military and veteran suicide rates by 40 percent no later than 2030, saving more than 2,400 lives per year. SSS was co-founded in 2010 by three Army veterans and has grown over the last decade into the most innovative suicide intervention effort the country. SSS provides consistent, confidential, trauma-informed care for service members and veterans at highest risk for suicide through its one-of-a-kind suicide intervention model, innovative use of data insights, and a technology-first approach. These services are all provided completely free of charge to our clients, regardless of period served or discharge status. To learn more or to donate, please visit StopSoldierSuicide.org.