BREAKING NEWS AND PERTINENT INFORMATION DIRECTLY FROM THE
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS NATIONAL OUTREACH OFFICE
These important briefings are provided through AFSAs Veterans Service Organization's Communicators Partnership with the National Veterans Outreach Office, Department of Veterans Affairs.
SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH
This Suicide Prevention Month — and every month — Be There for Veterans and let them know that your organization cares. Simple gestures of support can provide hope during challenging times. As a leading Suicide Prevention Month advocate, VA will amplify the message to Veterans and their networks that support is available, suicide is preventable, and resources exist to help Veterans get back on track. #BeThereForVeterans
No matter how casually or jokingly stated, comments about emotional distress, crisis, or suicide should always be taken seriously. Someone who talks about suicide, or who shares concerning images on social media, provides others with an opportunity to intervene before suicidal behaviors occur.
According to University of Utah research portrayed in BWF Stand SMART for Heroes, Veterans who died by suicide were more likely to:
• Post about stressful events and then immediately talk about emotional distress and negative thoughts.
• Talk about alcohol consumption or post pictures involving alcoholic beverages.
• Post content that rapidly switched back and forth between positive emotional content and negative emotional content.
• Post pictures of personal firearms but not of friends and pets.
How to Recognize and Respond to Emotional Distress on Social Media The following example language includes signs of emotional distress:
• Hopelessness: “Nothing I do makes a bit of a difference. It’s beyond my control.”
• Direct statements about suicide: “I’m having thoughts of suicide.” “I’m thinking about hurting myself.”
• Feeling trapped: “I can’t see any way out of this mess. Life will never get better.”
• Feeling like a burden: “They’d be better off without me.” “I’d be better off dead.”
• Lack of belonging: “No one cares. I just don’t fit in anywhere.”
• Guilt: “It’s all my fault. I’m to blame.”
• Saying goodbye or desire to escape: “I just wanted to tell everyone thank you for all you’ve done, but I just can’t take this anymore.”
• Feeling alone: “I’m on my own. No one cares about me.”
HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Anyone can help prevent Veteran suicide. Your actions can make a lifesaving difference when you reach out to a family member or friend you are concerned about and provide resources that can help. As you scroll on social media, look out for warning signs of suicide risk that are outlined in this toolkit, and follow the steps to provide support for the Veterans in your life and your community. #BeThere
News Releases 9/19/2020 Statement by Secretary Robert L. Wilkie on the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Today we mourn the passing of a trailblazer and lifelong advocate for women’s rights, Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (9/19/20)
VA recognizes HeRO award winners for safety initiatives, COVID-19 efforts - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today it honored Veterans Health Administration (VHA) National HeRO Award recipients for their contributions to VHA’s journey to becoming a high reliability organization (HRO). (9/18/20)
VA offers debt relief to Veterans impacted by natural disasters - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today its commitment to extend debt relief to Veterans adversely impacted by natural disasters. (9/16/20)
VA expands Veteran access to telehealth with iPad services - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today a new collaboration with Apple to increase Veterans’ access to virtual care benefits. (9/15/20)
VA awards $1.3 million to support Veterans at elevated risk of suicide from experiencing or being at risk of homelessness - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today it recently awarded $1.3 million in grants to 11 regional homelessness nonprofit organizations to bolster suicide prevention services for Veterans who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. (9/14/20)
VA notifies Veterans of compromised personal information - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Management today announced a data breach involving the personal information of approximately 46,000 Veterans and actions taken by the department to prevent and mitigate any potential harm to those individuals. (9/14/20)
The country makes a milestone commitment to prioritize suicide prevention for Veterans and all Americans - The President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) Office and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today 42 states and one U.S. territory signed the PREVENTS state proclamation pledging their prioritization of suicide prevention for Veterans and all citizens in their jurisdictions. (9/10/20)
Secretary Wilkie Joins Bipartisan Group of Senators Urging House Action on Veterans Suicide Prevention Legislation - U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie today released the following statement after a bipartisan group of more than 30 senators called on House leaders to pass S. 785, the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, which would expand mental health resources for Veterans both inside and outside VA (9/9/20)
VA is committed to bringing Veterans health care when and where they need it using advanced #telehealth technologies. If you are a #Veteran or #caregiver find out what #VAConnectedCare can offer you: https://www.telehealth.va.gov/
Video or Telephone Appointments: https://mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect
My HealtheVet: https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/home
Rx Refill: https://mobile.va.gov/app/rx-refill
Annie App: https://mobile.va.gov/annie
Home Telehealth http://vaww.telehealth.va.gov/pgm/ht/index.asp
MESSAGE FROM THE VHA EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE - APRIL 21, 2020 - WATCH VIDEO NOW
Today’s video is one of thanks to our Veteran Services Organizations (VSOs). I want to take a moment to thank and recognize the VSOs for your tremendous and unwavering support during this COVID-19 crisis. We could not do what we do without your support, year after year, partnering with you to care for and support our Veterans.
This is an unprecedented time in our history, and I am so proud of what this VHA team has accomplished under such difficult circumstances. I have been participating in the weekly VSO meetings that Secretary Wilkie has hosted and have appreciated the dialogue and feedback that we have received from the national VSO leadership as we work together to help our nation get through this crisis.
In addition, I have heard firsthand the great things your organizations are doing to support us. From holding blood drives, providing well-being checks, connecting your members to our national mental health resources and much more, your organizations are on the frontlines with us and we depend on you to provide the critical updates and resources our Veterans need to know regarding health care and staying safe.
VHA will continue to send a weekly VSO newsletter that will provide your organizations with key COVID-19 updates regarding health operations, policy changes, videos/training on key topics, VHA/VSO success stories, and frequently asked questions.
We value our partnership and thank each of your organizations for your support. Please continue to let us know how we can serve you and your members well and stay safe..
Richard A. Stone, MD
Executive in Charge
Follow EIC @USHVHA
Coronavirus FAQs: What Veterans need to know
Our call centers and some VA health facilities are currently experiencing very high numbers of calls. To help us address the most urgent needs first, we ask that you use our online tools and frequently asked questions (FAQs) for routine or non-urgent questions. We’ll continue to update this page as the situation changes. Learn more here now.
The doctor can see you now ... on your computer or mobile device. With VA Video Connect, use your phone, computer or tablet to communicate with your VA provider over a secure video connection.
Coronavirus can spread not only illness, but stress and anxiety, too. If you’re feeling uncertain or fearful, see these practical steps you can take to improve your well-being.
A big “thanks” to our #VA volunteers on the ground who are helping as VA joins other U.S. government agencies in a coordinated response to coronavirus. For the latest updates, visit www.va.gov/coronavirus/.