Cheyenne VA to hold suicide awareness conference

Courtesy: MGN
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (RELEASE) — The Cheyenne Veterans Affairs Health Care System will hold a suicide awareness conference focusing on prevention, intervention and postvention on Sept. 12 at the First National Bank Building at the Ranch Events Complex in Loveland. The event, “Healing the Hidden Pain,” will begin at 8 a.m., and participants should park in Lot B, at the facility located at 5280 Arena Circle, in Loveland.

Suicide is a complex national public health issue that affects communities nationwide, with more than 45,000 Americans, including more than 6,000 Veterans, dying by suicide every year. But suicide is preventable. VA is using a community-driven approach to prevent suicide and finding innovative ways to deliver support and care to all 20 million U.S. Veterans whenever and wherever they need it.

According to Paul Roberts, director of the Cheyenne VA, “Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. We are excited to offer this conference to the Northern Colorado Community. We have a fantastic line up of speakers and valuable resources available. Artwork depicting suicide awareness by Randy Bacon, photographer and film maker, will be displayed during the conference.”

According to Allison Bollegar, chaplain at the Cheyenne VA, “The goal is that individuals who attend this conference will leave with the knowledge and resources to help prevent suicide in their communities.”

“The Cheyenne VA Health Care System is working hard to end Veteran suicide, but we know that only about a third of Veterans come to VA for health care,” said Bollegar. “That’s why we need everyone in the community to get involved. This September, and all year, I encourage everyone to take a moment to be there for Veterans in need. One act of thoughtfulness can make a big difference and may even save a life.”

Individuals interested in attending the conference should call Allison Bollegar at 307-778-7550, ext. 7227.

Everyone can play a role by learning to recognize warning signs, showing compassion and care to Veterans in need, and offering your support. Here are some actions anyone can take to Be There:

 Reach out to the Veterans in your life to show them you care. Send a check-in text, cook them dinner, or simply ask, “How are you?”
 Educate yourself on the warning signs of suicide, found on the Veterans Crisis Line website
 Watch the free S.A.V.E. training video to equip yourself to respond with care and compassion if someone you know indicates they are having thoughts of suicide.
 Check out VA’s Social Media Safety Toolkit to learn how to recognize and respond to social media posts that may indicate emotional distress, feelings of crisis or thoughts of suicide.
 Contact VA’s Coaching Into Care program if you are worried about a Veteran loved one. A licensed psychologist or social worker will provide guidance on motivating your loved one to seek support.

Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.