HOT SPRINGS - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Black Hills Health Care System (BHHCS) is joining VA and other community groups to focus on programs and initiatives to make suicide prevention everyone’s business.

VA’s “Be There” campaign continues to bring attention and support to prevention efforts, emphasizing the fact that one small act could save the life of a Veteran or Service Member in crisis.

“We are not only guided by the statistics, but also the Veterans we see in our health care system every day and those Veterans who aren’t using our services,” said Sandra Horsman, Director, VA BHHCS. “It’s up to all of us to learn how we can jump into action if we speak to someone who needs support.”

Last August, VA released a national suicide data report, “Suicide Among Veterans and Other Americans, 2001–2014,” the most comprehensive analysis of Veteran suicide rates in the U.S., examining more than 55 million records from 1979 to 2014. The startling data indicated:

•An average of 20 Veterans died from suicide each day. 6 of the 20 were users of VA health services in 2013 or 2014.

•Veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults, but only 8.5 percent of the U.S. population.

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•Approximately 67 percent of all Veteran deaths from suicide were the result of firearms.

Important VA resources include the Veteran Crisis Line, 1-800-273-8255, Press 1; online chat at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net, and texting to 838255.

For more on VA’s Suicide Prevention resources, visit: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net, https://maketheconnection.net, www.va.gov.

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