Suicide prevention for veterans: a community effort

Suicide is a national public health issue that affects communities everywhere.

That's why Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has adopted a broad public health approach with an emphasis on comprehensive, community-based engagement. All of our nation's health systems and communities must work collectively to reduce suicide rates using the best available information and practices. Coordinated effort at the federal, state, and local level is key to preventing suicide.

Each community across the country plays a role in supporting veterans.

The VA's suicide-prevention efforts are to equip communities to help veterans get the right care, whenever and wherever they need it.

This means using suicide prevention approaches that cut through all sectors in which veterans interact such as faith communities, employers, schools, state and local leaders, medical professional, criminal justice officials, and many other stakeholders.

Put simply, VA must ensure suicide prevention is a part of every aspect of veterans' lives, not just their interactions with our agency.

White River Junction VA Medical Center plans to work strategically with community partners this year to think creatively to reach more and save more lives.

Learn to recognize these warning signs:

• anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings

• feeling hopeless

• rage or anger

• increasing alcohol or drug misuse

• withdrawing from family and friends

If you notice these warning signs or changes in a Veteran encourage them to contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1), send a text to 838255, or visit VeteransCrisisLine.net.

Lastly, if you would like to partner with White River Junction VA Medical Center's efforts to save Veteran lives, please contact me at 802-295-9363, ext. 6939.

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