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WDVA Program Continues to Address Veteran Suicide - A Message from Your WDVA Director - Suicide Prevention Month

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Toolkit | WDVA

WDVA Program Continues to Address Veteran Suicide

By WDVA Director, Alfie Alvarado-Ramos

Suicide prevention for our Veterans, Service Members, and their families is a high priority for WDVA. One suicide is one too many and the need for our communities to come together has never been more important.

Since 2019, WDVA’s Suicide Prevention program has worked tirelessly to provide aid to those experiencing suicidal ideation. In the past year, our suicide prevention team has increased from a team of one to a team of eight, with four Peer Specialists placed strategically throughout the state of Washington in our NW, SW, Central and Eastern regions. Each specialist is uniquely qualified to provide peer-based consultation, education, and connections to resources.

Suicide prevention is everyone’s business, and it is toward that end the Washington State Legislature provided funding to the WDVA to bolster our efforts. With these additional resources, our mission will continue to advance by:

  • Reviving and co-chairing the SAFER homes task force to raise public awareness and increase suicide prevention education among new partners who are in key positions to help reduce suicide. To learn more about SAFER Homes- Suicide Aware visit their page at https://saferhomescoalition.org
  • Creating a database of information on nonprofit, for-profit, city, county, state, and federal organizations, providers, and resources that address the mental health, well-being, and suicide prevention of SMVF’s.
  • Create, in consultation with the suicide-safer homes task force, a web-based application to be shared by state agencies and primary care providers with SMVF’s to provide applicable information and resources including but not limited to benefits, mental health resources, and lethal means safety information.
  • Co-creating the “Prevent Veteran Suicide” emblem with DOL for display on license plates
  • Creating educational materials informing health care providers about the availability of the nationwide 988 phone number for individuals in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors.
  • Establishing a process to receive, review, process, and award grants to organizations, including nonprofit and peer support community programs that address SMVF’s who may be at risk of suicide and other mental health crisis.

If you would like to learn how to become a suicide prevention advocate, or are in need of assistance please call Codie Garza or any member of the Suicide Prevention team at connect@dva.wa.gov, or 360-522-2894.