Northwest Pennsylvania Veteran Suicide Prevention Program 

Welcome to the Northwest Pennsylvania Veteran Suicide Prevention Program 
Working with Healthcare Partners, Community Organizations, Veterans, and their Families to End Suicide Deaths. 

Monthly Newsletter April 2022 Greetings to our stakeholders and supporters  Welcome to PERU’s March newsletter for the Northwest Pennsylvania (NW PA) Veteran Suicide Prevention Program. We look forward to updating you every month with program news, training events, community outreach activities, and evidence-based best practices for reducing suicidality and increasing social connectedness and resilience among Veterans. We encourage you to connect with us through our Facebook and LinkedIn groups and share the news of this program with colleagues, friends, and relevant community organizations. Your participation is greatly appreciated. Visit the Website and Get Involved  April Program Updates ‌ Read and Share Our Articles We regularly share program-relevant articles on our website’s blog. Designed to inform and inspire, these can be shared with colleagues or organizations that may have an interest in collaborating. Here’s what we published over the last month: 

Combat Veterans, Killing and Suicide This article summarizes a recent presentation by Lee Wagner, Senior Program Implementation Specialist, and explores how specific types of combat exposure impact suicidal ideation and suicidal attempt, the Combat Exposure Scale, and healing efforts for those with combat exposure. Read time: 7 minutes 

Understanding Pennsylvania’s Mental Health Parity LawsThe federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires health plans that cover mental health/substance use disorder treatment (MH/SUD) services “in parity” with the coverage of other medical and surgical benefits. Information about this important topic has been provided by our partner, the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, and is now available on our website. With distinct sections for healthcare providers and Veterans and their families, health insurance regulations for MH/SUD treatment are explained. Read time: 7 minutes 

Media Toolkit Now Available!Our online media toolkit can help spread the word about the NW PA Veteran Suicide Prevention Program. The toolkit contains sample email text, a press release for announcing collaborations, and a program overview article that can be forwarded to local newspapers, health and wellness organizations, community groups, and houses of worship. All materials can be customized to meet individual needs. Read time: 7 minutes 

Upcoming opportunities and events  We accept relevant contributions for our events calendar and news blog. Members may also share program-related training, events, and activities on our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.   

Supporting the Behavioral Health Needs of Our Service Members, Veterans and their Families Through Coalitions and Task ForcesApril 19th 2 PM EST FREE Participants will have the opportunity to hear from two different leaders who have established successful community-based coalitions and networks. 

Facilitating the Integration of Firearm Injury Prevention into HealthcareApril 25th 12 noon EST FREE Explore how firearm injury and mortality prevention can be integrated into routine care in health systems. The workshop will include discussion about the current evidence on strategies for prevention, the facilitators and barriers to implementation of strategies, and how health systems might work to overcome those barriers. 

Erie VA Moral Injury and Suicide Prevention SeminarMay 12th 10 AM EST FREE Dr. J. Irene Harris, a nationally-recognized expert in the treatment of moral injury, joins Brandon Wiley, LPC in a discussion about suicide prevention and moral injury, how to recognize traits of suicide risk and spiritual distress, and how to identify paths for wellness and spiritual strengths to help Veterans cope. Sponsored by the Erie VA Medical Center Chaplain Service. 

SCOPE First Responders Training Ongoing FREE The University of Pittsburgh’s Strategies to Coordinate Overdose Prevention Efforts (SCOPE) Statewide project provides continuing education for first responders on the topics of substance use disorder 101, recovery-oriented systems of care, naloxone administration and leave behind, and understanding the barriers created by stigma and bias. 

Upcoming training dates and registration are available online. Email SCOPE@pitt.edu for more information.   Your participation saves lives  A map of the 15 counties of NW Pennsylvania.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is a growing public health crisis that took more than 46,000 lives in the United States in 2020. In Pennsylvania alone, the rate of suicide deaths in 2018 was 15.7 per 100,000, compared to the national rate of 14.8 per 100,000.    
Fully funded by the CDC, this program aims to reduce Veteran suicide attempts, injuries, and deaths by 10% (on average) over five years in the fifteen counties of Northwestern Pennsylvania. By improving access to treatment and support services, we will increase awareness of Veteran suicide risk through suicide prevention community activities and training opportunities.  There are many ways to participate  A group of friends with arms linked watch a sunset. Whether you identify as a healthcare provider, community organization, or Veteran, there are several opportunities through the NW PA Veteran Suicide Prevention Program to connect to resources, participate in educational training, and promote harm reduction strategies for at-risk Veterans. We are actively recruiting healthcare and community partners to work with us in meeting our goals and objectives. Help us: ·     Create community-based programs and services that foster supportive environments, promote social belonging and community connections, and offer effective coping and resilience-building strategies.·     Deliver healthcare-related programs and services that identify and support people at-risk and strengthen access to and delivery of care.·     Reduce misuse of firearms and preventing suicide by firearms.·     Offer suicide awareness training for community members and Veterans.·     Provide activities that promote Veteran culture and connection within communities. The list above represents a sample of all available opportunities. Please contact us to connect with a program specialist and learn more.   
Request Partnership Information
Learn more about our work
Photograph of two women talking over coffee. To learn more, and meet our program implementation team, visit the NW PA Veteran Suicide Prevention website at theresilientveteran.orgNeed Help? Know Someone Who Does? Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat. Both are free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area.
PERU is dedicated to meaningful research and its contribution to a health system that facilitates a patient’s ability to achieve optimal health, well-being, recovery, and choice.
Funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Comprehensive Suicide Prevention Program
University of Pittsburgh | 5607 Baum Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15206 https://www.peru.pitt.edu

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