Veteran Suicide Prevention

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September is National Suicide Prevention Month. The Mini-Cassia Veterans’ Service Office has planned several big events in honor of suicide prevention because of the impact suicide has had on so many veterans and their families.

David Carroll, Ph.D., who is the Executive Director of the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, stated: “[The] VA is determined to reduce the number of Veteran deaths by suicide, saving lives by using prevention strategies that are based on the best evidence available.” With this in mind, the VA undertook a large scale study of the problem of suicide among veterans to see what factors influence suicide.

The Mini-Cassia Veterans’ Service Office has broken down the results of this study to show what factors are suicide risks and what factors offer some protection against suicidal behavior. During the latter half of September and first half of October the VSO office will have a self-directed workshop set up in our office to help participants assess their risk factors and protective factors as relates to suicide. Resources to help eliminate or diminish risk factors as well as resources that enhance and build on protective factors will be available to participants. Even though, this workshop was designed for veterans, it can be very beneficial to the general public as well. Anyone who worries about suicide in his own life or in the life of a loved one should plan to walk through the self-directed workshop.

While the Suicide Workshop will be available during regular office hours from September 16th to October 3rd at 625 Fremont Avenue in Rupert. There are several special events planned around the workshop on specific days.

They are as follows:
September 25th will be Gulf War Veterans’ Recognition Day from 11 am to 5 pm. This will be an outreach to Veterans of the Gulf War which includes Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom to provide them with access to benefits and information that will help them improve their lives post-military service. A light lunch will be served from noon to 1 pm and refreshments will be available throughout the day. A Gulf War Veteran will speak to the group during the lunch hour and representatives from Idaho’s US Congressmen’s offices will be on hand to talk to veterans and provide them with information about bills in Congress that may impact them. Drawings will be held for Gulf War memorabilia.

September 26th will be the official Suicide Prevention Day from 11 am to 5 pm. Light refreshments will be available all day. The self-directed workshop will be available to help everyone learn the risks and protective factors of suicide.

October 2nd will be POW/MIA day in remembrance of those veterans who were POWs or listed as MIA. A special display will be set up to commemorate the day. Small decals and small flags with the POW/MIA symbol will be available to anyone who comes to the VSO Office on that day.

October 3rd will be Vietnam Veteran Outreach Day. Vietnam Veterans are the least appreciated group of all the veterans. Most of them have memories of being treated as criminals when they returned home from their service aboard. This day will be dedicated to honoring the service of Vietnam Veterans. A light lunch will be served from noon to 1:00 pm with a Vietnam Veteran to speak to the group. A drawing will be held for Vietnam War memorabilia.

The Mini-Cassia Veterans’ Service Office hopes these activities will bring the veterans together as a community, provide them with helpful information, let them know of any benefits which may be available to them, and get them registered with the VSO Office for possible future benefits.

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