I am writing to thank Scott Orr and the Verde Independent for the front page article that shined a light on the distressing statistics regarding suicide in the Veteran population, and specifically in our state.
Unfortunately, suicide continues to be the choice of far too many in our country. As a member of the Mental Health Coalition of the Verde Valley, I have been a part of our task force attempting to educate through sponsoring speakers, movies and events, and teaching school children.
We also provide comfort to the local families left behind to sort out the catastrophic emotional stress of grieving a loss to suicide. Thus, In January a trainer from EMPACT Suicide Prevention Center, Inc., came to Sedona to train a group to facilitate a Survivors of Suicide (SOS) support group that has met the last Tuesday of each month since May. (Contact Barb Prats at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The Coalition has also sponsored (with Spectrum Healthcare) trainings on Mental Health First Aid, and are offering a free class on December 9th. (Contact Barbara Litrell at email@example.com.)
One goal of the Coalition for 2017 is to create additional emphasis on suicide prevention. I would agree with the article that the stigma in our culture often prevents the person suffering from suicidal ideation from seeking help and support that might be available, be he/she a veteran or not.
Education is needed throughout our nation to put mental health issues into conversations with the same status as cancer, AIDS, or other diseases that we discuss with more ease and therefore are better able to address and more effectively “fix”!
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