By Kim Donahue, NDVS Suicide Prevent & Homelessness Program Manager
I wanted to introduce myself and share important information about efforts underway to prevent veteran suicide. My name is Kim Donohue and I serve as the NDVS Suicide & Homelessness Prevention Program Manager. I also serve on the teams of the Las Vegas and Truckee Meadows Mayor’s Challenge to prevent suicide of veterans, military members or their families. These teams are comprised of state, federal, military and community agencies to fight against suicide at every level! Below are some highlights.
The Las Vegas Team has been going strong since January of 2018 and is focused on three of the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control (CDC) strategies:
- Identify and support people at risk
- Established Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (T.A.P.S
- Promoting effective, supportive communications
- Improved NDVS Suicide Prevention website tab
- Disseminated securing lethal means information to gun shops, pawn shops and shooting ranges in conjunction with Nevada’s Office of Suicide Prevention
- Attended venues, including job fairs, to spread the word
The Northern Nevada-Truckee Meadows Team consists of a wide array of agencies throughout the Washoe Valley including the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, representing three tribes, Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe. This team focused efforts around four CDC strategies to prevent suicide:
- Increased Access to Care and Services
- Partnered with Reno Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office
- Assisted law enforcement in streamlining crisis response processes
- Reno Police provided mobile app to first responders to better connect at-risk or in crisis individuals to the correct help needed
- Streamlined arresting/transporting officer questionnaire form
- Partnered with 152nd Wing Air National Guard to support those transitioning to civilian life
- Focusing and strengthening support for those impacted following a suicide
- Working to establish a Northern Nevada T.A.P.S support group for those impacted following a suicide
Nevada has remained significantly higher in national suicide rates for both veteran and civilian populations. Over the last year-in-half, NDVS has been fortunate to participate in the incredible Mayor’s Challenge platform provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)that is aimed at eliminating suicide.
Since Suicide Rates rose across the U.S. from 1999 to 2016, Nevada was the only state in the Nation to reduce suicide rates by 1%.
The continued and combined efforts of both Mayor’s Challenge Teams have allowed our state to be considered for selection to the next SAMHSA Governor’s Challenge 2020. The Governor’s Challenge will allow our state to continue to build efforts of the Mayor’s Challenge Teams and allow for changes at a state level.
Stay tuned, next month I will discuss the recent release of the 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report. I will break the data down and share the facts, what this means for Nevada and how YOU can be involved.
Together we CAN PREVENT SUICIDE!!
If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs help, please contact:
The Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, press 1. Text to 838255 or Confidential crisis chat at VeteransCrisisLine.net