Defense, Veterans Affairs departments partner to reduce military suicides

By Sara Shayanian  |  Feb. 6, 2018 at 10:49 AM
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Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments are partnering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to reduce military suicides.

The first-of-its-kind partnership, announced last week at the foundation's annual leadership conference, will include information-sharing across the three entities.

Leaders hope that cooperation will help the veterans and active service members they encounter on a regular basis.

"Ensuring consistency throughout our communities - that our service members and veterans have access to resources before, while, and after wearing the uniform, and that the transition is seamless - is vital to our collective goal of reducing suicide," George Parisi, acting director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office of the Department of Defense, said in a statement.

"Partnering with AFSP and VA is key to ensuring service members, veterans, and their families receive the support they need."

Equipping staff members with evidence-based tips to help service members and veterans could help improve suicide prevention at large, leaders said.

"Suicide impacts people of all walks of life, regardless of whether or not they've served in the military," Dr. Keita Franklin, acting director of suicide prevention at the Department of Veterans Affairs, said.

"There is no wrong door to treatment, whether that's with VA or another provider. Our responsibility is to equip communities to help service members and veterans get the right care for them, whenever and wherever they need it."

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