Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center
Suicide Prevention Awareness
Suicide prevention is everyone's business!
Lovell FHCC is working to make sure that veterans, service members and their loved ones are aware of the Veterans Crisis Line. To reach as many people as possible, Lovell FHCC coordinates with community groups, Veterans Service Organizations, and local health care providers to get the word out that support is available whenever, if ever, they need it. Suicide is preventable.
Suicide Prevention Program
In addition to discussions with your provider, the Suicide Prevention Program identifies and monitors individuals at high risk for suicide for at least 90 days. The Suicide Prevention Coordinators respond to consults made from the Veterans Crisis Line. This program also provides Operation S.A.V.E. training. S.A.V.E. stands for:
Signs of suicidal thinking:
- Threatening or talking about hurting or killing oneself
- Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness
- Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities
- Increasing alcohol or drug abuse
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
- Feeling anxious or agitated
Ask the person directly if he or she is having suicidal thoughts/ideas or has a plan to do so and has access to lethal means.
- “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
- “Do you think you might try to hurt yourself today?”
Validate the veteran’s/patient's experience.
- Show the veteran/patient you are following what they are saying
- Let them know their situation is serious
- Let them know there is help
Encourage treatment and Expedite getting help.
- Explain that there are trained professionals available to help
- Explain that getting help for this kind of problem is no different than seeing a specialist for other medical problems
Services you may expect to receive include Operation S.A.V.E. Training, the development of an individualized Suicide Prevention Safety Plan, educational presentations and materials and case management services.
Who is Eligible for these Services? Any individual who is experiencing suicidal thoughts is assessed to determine the safest level of care. Those eligible for Suicide Prevention services may have made a suicide attempt; expressed suicidal ideations, required an alteration in their plan of care, such as hospitalization, or may be considered to be at increased risk by a member of their health care team.
How to Access this Service? Call 224-610-1816, 224-610-5780 or 224-610-5894 to reach a Suicide Prevention Coordinator; request a consultation be sent to the Suicide Prevention Coordinators, or call the Veteran/Military Crisis Line: 800-273-TALK (8255) and then press 1 for Veteran/Active Duty.
If you are concerned about a veteran or active duty service member, reach out. There is no wrong way to get a veteran or service member access to the care they need. Suicide Prevention Coordinators can assist.
- Dial 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 to talk to someone
- Start a confidential online chat session at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net/chat
- Send a text message to 838255 to connect to a VA responder
- Take a self-check quiz at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net/quiz
- If you or a veteran you know is in crisis, find a facility near you
- Visit www.MilitaryCrisisLine.net if you are active duty, Reserve, or Guard
- Connect through chat, text, or TTY if you are deaf or hard of hearing
- Take an anonymous screening test on My HealtheVet
- Identify the Warning Signs
- Concerned About a Veteran? You Can Help
- Suicide and Crisis Resources
- About the Veterans Crisis Line
- Be There for Veterans
Health Awareness Campaigns: Gun Safety
Gun safety is an important step in preventing suicide. Guns can be found in 34 percent of homes nationwide. For a veteran or active duty service member who is going through a tough time or an emotional crisis, a safely-stored firearm can mean the difference between a tragic outcome and a life saved. As a concerned loved one, friend, or clinician, you have the power to initiate a conversation about safely handling and storing firearms.
More women than ever are taking on the responsibility of gun ownership. While it is true that women veterans are well-trained in the care and use of firearms as a result of military duty, it is critical to ensure that guns stored in the home are properly secured. By following these common-sense tips, parents and children can help prevent firearms accidents in the home.
Firearm storage options include, but are not limited to:
- Firearm locks (trigger or cable)
- Firearm cases
- Firearm safes
A firearm locking device is intended only to deter access to a firearm by unauthorized persons, particularly children. It is not intended to withstand forced entry by someone determined to defeat the lock by using tools or other aggressive means, and should be considered as only one element of a safe storage program for firearms.
Let Lovell FHCC help. We have gunlocks available, free of charge, no questions asked. Gun safety locks not only help protect the lives of veterans and active duty service members, but also their family members. Contact Lovell FHCC or your nearest VA Medical Center and get a free gun lock from your primary care team or the facility’s Suicide Prevention Coordinator.
Gun Safety Tips at Home
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
- Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
- Keep your fingers off the trigger. Don’t rely on your firearm’s “safety” device.
- Keep the firearm unloaded when it is not in use.
- Make sure that firearms kept for security reasons are fully controlled at all times.
- Make sure that firearms are securely stored in a location inaccessible to children and other unauthorized persons.
- Unload sporting firearms before they are brought into the home and never load them while in the home.
- Immediately clean sporting firearms and place them in secure storage after they are returned from hunting or target shooting.
- Carefully check and confirm that firearms are unloaded when they are removed from storage.
- Store ammunition under lock and key, separately from firearms.
- Read and understand the owner’s manual that came with the firearm.
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