In observance of Suicide Prevention Month, the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center is bringing awareness to its #BeThere campaign by encouraging community leaders, colleagues, and Veterans’ families and friends to help prevent suicide by showing support for those who may be going through a difficult time.
Suicide is a complex national public health issue that affects communities nationwide, with more than 45,000 Americans, including more than 6,000 Veterans, dying by suicide every year. But suicide is preventable. VA is using a community-driven approach to prevent suicide and finding innovative ways to deliver support and care to all 20 million U.S. veterans whenever and wherever they need it.
“It is essential to be clear that suicide is not a statement about what kind of person you are. It does not discriminate, and suicide is not solely isolated to veterans. Suicide can affect any of us,” said Richard Crockett, Medical Center Director. We must place more attention towards suicide prevention across the spectrum of our community—we need a whole community approach.”
“We now know that if a veteran is being actively seen by the VA, their risk of suicide is greatly reduced. And we’ve learned that only a third of Veterans come to the VA for health care,” said Crockett. “That’s why we need everyone in the community to get involved. This September, and all year, I encourage everyone to take a moment to be there for Veterans in need. One act of thoughtfulness can make a big difference and may even save a life.”
The Shreveport VA hospital is hosting an informational open house, Sept. 11 and 13, in the main lobby. The VA hospital is also conducting a Mental Health Summit, Sept. 18, at the American Legion Post #14, located on 5315 S Lakeshore Drive, Shreveport LA 71109. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. Our theme this year is, Pathways to Recovery.
You don’t need special training to prevent suicide. Everyone can play a role by learning to recognize warning signs, showing compassion and care to Veterans in need, and offering your support.