Sept. 7 to 13 is Suicide Prevention Awareness Week, which provides an opportunity to promote awareness concerning suicide prevention and how individuals and communities can work together. The Department of Veterans Affairs and Truman Veterans Hospital are proud to participate and promote our efforts in this area.
Because every suicide is a tragedy, the VA is concerned about each veteran and his/her physical and mental health. We have more than 9,000 mental health workers nationwide that have dedicated themselves to helping veterans cope with the issues and crises they face. The annual VA mental health budget is about $3 billion, and roughly a million veterans that have a mental health diagnosis receive care and treatment.
The VA operates a national veteran suicide prevention hot line – 800-273-TALK (8255) – that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Suicide prevention coordinators have been hired at every VA medical center including Truman Veterans Hospital. We also conduct special training programs for all VA employees in medical centers and clinics to alert them to warning signs in veterans for suicide and other emotional problems.
We know that it takes courage and strength to ask for help. Veterans that are considering harming themselves in some way are encouraged to seek help from the VA or other health care providers in their communities.