Local VA Rallies Community Support for Veterans During Suicide Prevention Month

September is Veteran Suicide Prevention Month: #BeThere

LEBANON, Pa. — Veteran suicide isn’t just a national issue, it’s one Lebanon VA Medical Center continues to focus on with programs and initiatives to make suicide prevention everyone’s business.

The VA’s successful BeThere campaign continues to bring attention and support, emphasizing the fact that one small act could save the life of a Veteran or Service Member in crisis.

“We are not only guided by the statistics, but also the Veterans we see each and every day in this medical center,” said Robert W. Callahan, Jr., Lebanon VAMC director. “It’s up to all of us to learn how we can jump into action if we speak to someone who needs support.”

In August 2016, VA released a national suicide data report, “Suicide among Veterans and Other Americans, 2001–2014.” The report was the most comprehensive analysis of Veteran suicide rates in the United States, examining more than 55 million records from 1979 to 2014. The startling data indicated:

  • An average of 20 Veterans died from suicide each day. Six of the 20 were users of VA health services in 2013 or 2014.
  • Veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults, while Veterans constituted 8.5 percent of the US population.
  • Approximately 67 percent of all Veteran deaths from suicide were the result of firearm injuries.

Important VA resources include the Veteran Crisis Line, 1-800-273-8255, Press 1; online chat at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net, and texting to 838255.

“One call, one chat, or one text can open the door to hope,” said Lori Warne, Lebanon VAMC suicide prevention coordinator.

Lebanon VAMC is one of 168 medical centers in the nation with the sole purpose of providing world-class medical care to America’s Veterans. Lebanon VAMC serves a nine county area in South Central Pennsylvania covering Adams, Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, Schuylkill and York counties. Lebanon VAMC also oversees community clinics located in Camp Hill, Frackville, Lancaster, Pottsville, Wyomissing and York. If you are a Veteran, you may be eligible to receive care and benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. To learn more, call 717-228-6000.

For more on VA’s Suicide Prevention resources, visit these websites: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net, https://maketheconnection.net, www.va.gov. For more information about the Lebanon VA Medical Center, visit www.lebanon.va.gov, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VALebanon, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VALebanon.

SOURCE: Lebanon VAMC