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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Uncategorized / Agency creates partnerships to reduce veteran suicide rate

Agency creates partnerships to reduce veteran suicide rate

Soldier holding folded American flag
Soldier holding folded American flag

Amid all the storm and fury of presidential politics, with little attention paid to combat hotspots around the world, it’s easy to forget our veterans.

But it’s not easy for them to forget what they’ve been through, and far too many can’t shake off their experiences on foreign soil.

A posting on the website of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation, serves to bring this home.

“According to the January 2014 Veterans Health Administration report, the suicide rate among male and female veterans and military service members exceeds the national rate for the general population,” the posting states http://www.samhsa.gov/veterans-military-families/critical-issues. “Veterans comprise 20 percent of national suicides, with approximately 22 veterans dying by suicide every day. Three out of five veterans who died by suicide were diagnosed as having a mental health condition.

“Military service members, veterans and their families are a growing community exposed to traumatic events. Involvement in combat that causes losses and fears; injuries associated with combat; repeated deployments and/or relocations; and military sexual violence all may exert an emotional toll on military personnel, their families, and their communities.”

In seeking to address this, SAMSHA has formed partnerships between the agency’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Veteran Crisis Link and another with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

The former arrangement “connects veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text,” according to the site.

Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

The arrangement with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention led to efforts by National Guard Joint Force chaplains in five states to implement Partners in Care programs “through which more than 400 faith leaders received suicide prevention gatekeeper training and partnered with the chaplain’s offices to provide coordinated support for National Guard members and their families.”

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