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Angela Porter profile image
Angela J. Porter
Director of Suicide Prevention and Opioid Addiction Services (SOS) with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS)

In honor of Independence Day, the First Lady shines a light on a female Virginian working hard to serve those who fought for our freedoms. Dr. Porter ensures all of Virginia’s veterans struggling with substance use disorder and behavioral health challenges are afforded the care they need and deserve. Learn more about Virginia’s Suicide and Opioid Addiction Services program for the brave men and women who have served our country below:


Can you provide an overview of the goals and objectives of the SOS Program and how it aims to address veteran suicide and opioid addiction in Virginia?

The DVS SOS program collaborates with federal, state, local and community organizations, public and private institutions, and other service providers to develop programs to prevent suicide and opioid addiction among service members, veterans, and their families (SMVF).

The SOS program enhances understanding of suicide prevention and opioid addiction among SMVF to build and improve community capacity and services. Together, we build community support around getting the RIGHT HELP, RIGHT NOW.

SOS is accomplishing these goals by providing Outreach, Technical Assistance, and Grants for Research and Community services for topics related to suicide prevention and opioid addiction. The SOS team provides technical assistance to federal and community partners, and citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. We also coordinate the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide team (with DBHDS, VADA and HHR agencies). SOS grantees implement, study, and expand best practices in veteran peer support, suicide prevention, training, suicide risk screening, and clinical therapies. 

How do you personally connect with the SOS Program?

After earning my undergraduate degree, I had the opportunity to volunteer for the Central Health Suicide Hotline. This was a life changing experience. I then worked in various aspects of behavioral health and corrections that allowed me to gain knowledge about suicide prevention in multiple settings. After my father was killed my uncles were very important guides in my life, 6 of my 9 uncles are veterans. Both my maternal and paternal grandfathers were WWII veterans. In 2023, my cousin chose to die by suicide. He was raised by his grandfather who was also a veteran.

What inspired your career serving our Nation's veterans?

When I saw that the Virginia Department of Veterans Services had created a grant program to assist with eliminating suicide and opioid addiction among SMVF, I was intrigued. I thought, what an important endeavor DVS was initiating that had the possibility to improve and save so many lives. There are very few people that can say that their lives have not been touched or improved by the sacrifices of our armed services or have not been impacted by suicide.

How will the grant funds be allocated and distributed among successful applicants?

A Notice of Funding Opportunity is advertised throughout the Commonwealth. Applications are accepted into our new grants management portal. The applications are reviewed by a team of trained grant reviewers and recommendations for funding are submitted. The commissioner of DVS agrees with the recommendations and funds are released to the veteran service organizations after a vetting process. Quarterly and Semi-annual reports are submitted and periodic monitoring by SOS Grants Administrators are put in place for quality assurance.

Are there specific priorities or focus areas within suicide prevention and opioid addiction services that the DVS is particularly interested in funding?

Yes, DVS/SOS is interested in prevention, intervention, and postvention as it relates to both suicide and opioid addiction.

What message do you have for Virginians as we celebrate Independence Day? 

As we commemorate the anniversary of our nation’s independence, I ask that you remember those that have and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice and their families. That we keep a close eye on them so that we know when they are becoming unwell. And if you notice that a SMVF are unwell you take the time to contact 988, press 1 for assistance for veterans.

About Angela J. Porter, PhD., CSOTP

Angela Porter, Ph. D. is the Director of Suicide Prevention and Opioid Addiction Services (SOS) with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS). Before joining DVS in September 2022, she served as Chief Operating Officer and President of Behavioral Health Alternatives, a private consulting firm. She was also the lead for Same Day Access, Adult Outpatient Services and Crisis Services at a local Community Service Board. Dr. Porter served as Director of Counseling Services at Virginia Union University and worked with the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS). She earned her B.S. in Administration of Justice/Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University, an M.A. in Criminal Justice Administration from Clark Atlanta University, and a Ph.D. from Capella University. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Virginia Sex Offender Treatment Association (VSOTA). Dr. Porter has over 25 years of experience in the Behavioral Health field and is a Certified Sex Offender Treatment Provider (CSOTP).

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