VA Medical center fights for suicide prevention

IRON MOUNTAIN — According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veteran suicides have increased thirty-two percent since two thousand one. And in two thousand fourteen, sixty-five percent of all Veterans that committed suicide were fifty years of age or older.

The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center held a presentation on suicide prevention for Veterans discharged under other than honorable conditions this afternoon. The Iron Mountain VA is holding several of these presentations as part of September being Suicide Prevention Month. Officials with the VA are taking new initiatives to expand mental health services and suicide prevention resources to Veterans across the nation. One of those programs the VA has started is called, ‘Reach Vet.’

“So Reach Vet is a predictive analysis tool that is used to potentially identify Veterans that could potentially be at risk,” said Sharon Anastas, Suicide Prevention Coordinator. “Monthly we get names of Veterans who are identified in the Reach Vet and then we have the mental health providers and the medical providers take a look at their chart, review the treatment and the care they’re getting and certainly if they need to modify it or enhance it, get with the Veteran and talk with them,” she added.

The VA says that even one Veteran Suicide is too many. Veterans in crisis are encouraged to call and talk to someone on the Veterans Crisis Line.