This spring, Mission Daybreak called on innovators to help develop new suicide prevention solutions that could offer healing and recovery to Veterans. Phase 1 of the grand challenge received 1,371 concepts when submissions closed on July 8. From individual experts to transformative partnerships, solvers included Veterans, Veteran service organizations (VSOs), community-based organizations, health tech companies, startups, and universities.

Challenge attracts wide range of novel ideas

Suicide has no single cause, and no single strategy can end Veteran suicide. That’s why Mission Daybreak sought solutions across a broad spectrum of challenge focus areas — and solvers went above and beyond to answer the call. From remote peer support and animal therapy to novel engagement approaches, the Phase 1 submissions proposed a range of new solutions addressing identified focus areas.

Mission Daybreak is humbled to see the outpouring of support to advance suicide prevention efforts for our Veterans — and all Americans. Through the $20 million prize pool and the Phase 2 virtual accelerator program, the grand challenge is investing in an ecosystem of support for innovators and their solutions.

Review panel begins assessments

Suicide prevention is a complex problem, with a multitude of risk and protective factors that affect every individual differently. To ensure a rigorous evaluation process, an expert review panel will assess submissions according to Phase 1 evaluation criteria and advance leading concepts to a multidisciplinary judging panel

With over 300 members, the review panel draws from a broad range of expertise — spanning product development at venture capital and technology firms to mental health research in academia and Veteran service experience at community-based organizations and VSOs. Each eligible solution will be assessed by a mental health care professional or suicide prevention coordinator, a Veteran or family member of a Veteran, and a technical reviewer with relevant expertise in the submission focus area. Mission Daybreak thanks the expert reviewers for generously donating their time and expertise to the challenge.

Looking ahead: Judging panel to convene later this summer

Following the review panel’s evaluation, the judging panel will assess the leading Phase 1 concepts. Judges will recommend 30 finalists to receive $250,000 each and an invitation to advance to the Phase 2 accelerator. An additional 10 teams will receive a Promise Award of $100,000 each. The accelerator is designed to help the 30 finalists develop ambitious but achievable roadmaps for prototyping, iteration, testing/validation, and evaluation.

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