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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas
Taking the Challenge to Prevent Veteran Suicide!
Wednesday, January 31, 2018The City of Houston will be participating in a special nationwide challenge to prevent suicide among service members, Veterans and their families. The City was announced as one of 7 U.S. cities taking part in the challenge, aimed at eliminating suicide by using a comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention. The challenge, which is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will involve the City participating in a policy academy process that up until now has been available only to states and territories. Selected cities were invited to participate based on Veteran population data, suicide prevalence rates and capacity of the city to lead the way in this first phase of the Mayor’s Challenge.
“Of the 20 suicides a day that we reported last year, 14 were not under VA care,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “We are pleased to partner with SAMHSA to bring attention, education and support regarding suicide prevention to communities where our Veterans live.”
Teams from each of the seven cities will meet March 14-16, 2018, in Washington, D.C., to develop strategic action plans to implement in their communities. The teams will include collaborative groups of community, municipal, military and other stakeholders. Houston’s effort will be spearheaded by the City’s Office of Veteran Affairs. Staff from Houston’s Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) will provide technical assistance to support local efforts and to document outcomes and share strategies with other municipalities.
“The MEDVAMC is thrilled to support the City of Houston and participate in this important initiative,” said Francisco Vazquez, Director of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. “One Veteran suicide is too many. We are committed to eliminating suicide among Veterans and helping Veterans recover and restore their lives.”
For more information on VA’s suicide prevention campaign, visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/bethere.
For information on SAMHSA’s suicide prevention efforts, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/suicide-prevention/samhsas-efforts.
Veterans in crisis or having thoughts of suicide — and those who know a Veteran in crisis — should call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or text to 838255.