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State Dept. of Veterans Affairs to hold suicide prevention summit

The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs will host its Third Annual Suicide Prevention Summit virtually at 9 a.m. Friday.
“As a veteran, I know that we must never give up in our efforts to prevent suicide among veterans and military service members alike,” said Gov. John Bell Edwards. “The number of veteran and military suicides we are seeing nationwide — at more than 6,000 per year — is alarmingly high..”
Each year across the nation, September serves as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Edwards has issued a proclamation (attached), highlighting the ongoing efforts of LDVA as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans and their Families.
The Summit’s guest speakers include:
— Aimee Johnson, LCSW program analyst, VHA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention;
— Jennifer True, Ph.D., investigator, South Central Mental Illness, Research, Education and Clinical Center;
— Dawn Schiro, LSCW-BACS, MSW, suicide prevention social worker, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System; and
— Matt Bailey Veteran Champion, VISION Project.
The speakers will address safe firearm storage, safety planning as an effective form of intervention for suicide prevention and preventing suicide by firearms or other lethal means.
The Summit is open not only to veterans and service members, but to anyone who would like to learn more about suicide prevention and how to help someone in their time of crisis. Individuals may register for the Summit at SoLA-VA-Corp.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PsZDMemDTACx3VE41CyrdA.
Additionally, LDVA includes training on suicide prevention in its annual training for LDVA Veterans Assistance Counselors who staff more than 70 veterans’ benefits offices around the state. These service officers interact with Louisiana veterans on a daily basis. LDVA’s initiatives complement both the USDVA’s efforts and the mission of the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS).
For more information about the Summit or LDVA, visit vetaffairs.la.gov, email veteran@la.gov, call 225-219-5000.

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