September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

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In observance of Suicide Prevention Month, the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System 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.

“The VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System is working hard to end veteran suicide, but we know that only about a third of veterans come to VA for health care,” said William J. Caron, VASNHS Director/CEO. “We need everyone to get involved and that’s why we have partnered with the community via efforts such as the Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide and other statewide and local initiatives to tackle the VA’s top clinical priority. 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.”

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. Here are some actions anyone can take to Be There:

• Reach out to the veterans in your life to show them you care. Send a check-in text, cook them dinner, or simply ask, “How are you?”
• Educate yourself on the warning signs of suicide, found on the Veterans Crisis Line we
• Watch the free S.A.V.E. training video to equip yourself to respond with care and compassion if someone you know indicates they are having thoughts of suicide.
• Check out VA’s Social Media Safety Toolkit to learn how to recognize and respond to social media posts that may indicate emotional distress, feelings of crisis or thoughts of suicide.
• Contact VA’s Coaching Into Care program if you are worried about a veteran loved one. A licensed psychologist or social worker will provide guidance on motivating your loved one to seek support.

Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

VASNHS Suicide Prevention Month Events
The following events are taking place at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System to raise awareness during Suicide Prevention Month.

• Sept. 13: Documentary Screening: “Suicide – The Ripple Effect,” North Las Vegas VA Medical Center Auditorium, 11:45 a.m.
• “Suicide — The Ripple Effect” is a feature length documentary focusing on the devastating effects of suicide and the tremendous positive ripple effects of advocacy, inspiration and hope that are helping millions heal & stay alive. The film highlights the journey of Kevin Hines, who at age 19, attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. Today Kevin is a world-renowned mental health advocate, motivational speaker and author who travels the globe spreading a message of hope, recovery and wellness.
• Sept. 14: Suicide Prevention Display and Information Table at 5th Annual Armed Forces and Military Veterans Appreciation Day, Craig Ranch Park, North Las Vegas, Nev., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Sept. 17: Suicide Prevention Display and Information Table at Northwest VA Clinic, 1-3 p.m.
• Sept. 18: Suicide Prevention Display and Information Table at Northeast VA Clinic, 10 a.m. to noon.
• Sept. 20: Suicide Prevention Display and Information Table at MCPO Jesse Dean VA Clinic, Laughlin, Nev., 10 a.m. to noon.
• Sept. 25-26: First Responders Suicide Prevention Training, North Las Vegas VA Medical Center (Must be preregistered to attend).
• Sept. 27: Suicide Prevention Display and Information Table at Pahrump (Nev.) VA Clinic, 10 a.m. to noon.
• Sept. 28: Suicide Prevention Display and Information Table at Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce Fall Festival, Pahrump, Nev.