Through this initiative, Veterans Administration (VA) engages community leaders within faith-based and other caring community organizations as partners with VA to prevent suicides and improve Veterans’ mental health within their own communities. This upstream suicide prevention strategy, now part of VA’s Diffusion of Excellence suicide prevention innovations, targets and equips high risk communities with the knowledge, tools and resources necessary to address mental health concerns, make referrals to VA and other sources of care and support, and ultimately prevent suicides.
During this workshop, a VA suicide prevention specialist and chaplain will present information on the relationships between mental health and spirituality, the problem of suicide among Veterans and Service Members, and the opportunity for community leaders and other champions to get involved.
Objectives: Participants in this training event will:
1. Understand the problem of suicide among the military Veteran and Service Member population;
2. Learn how the naturally existing caring community organizations and leaders can be engaged and empowered to take action;
3. Learn an upstream approach to suicide and gun violence prevention;
4. Learn a specific set of steps to engage a concerning Veteran in a discussion about his/her mental health that leads to a referral to care; and,
5. Become armed with the knowledge, tools and confidence to reach new audiences within respective communities to further this initiative.
Joseph Hunter, Ph.D., LCSW, VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator
Rev. Bruce Swingle, D.Min., BCC, Lead Chaplain