Community Successes and Challenges – Orange County, Panhandle FL & Cincinnati OH Updates

America's Warrior Partnership

As the summer marches on, Operation Deep Dive has continued to build community connections and increase capacity in veteran suicide prevention via our Community Action Teams (CATs) across the country. This blog features news from Orange County, the Panhandle of Florida, and the Cincinnati OH area, highlighting some key successes and milestones for the project, as well as challenges to veteran suicide prevention that CATs have identified.

Mapping important places and spaces for veterans in Cincinnati, OH

(Pictured is the beginning of the community mapping process for Cincinnati, OH. Yellow refers to VAs, Pink refers to Veteran Member Organizations, and green refers to Veteran Serving Organizations)

It’s been a busy few months here in Cincinnati. We have hosted four Community Action Team (CAT) meetings so far, and each has been filled with important discussions regarding veteran needs, transition, and resources in the Cincinnati area. During our last meeting on July 3rd, we were able to begin mapping out different areas across the city and surrounding areas that are important to our veterans. Our hope is that we can start identifying some patterns from this. As well, I had the pleasure of attending both the Northern Kentucky Veteran’s Coalition meeting and the Talbert House VOAC meeting to spread the word about the study and to recruit new CAT members. Thanks to both of these organizations for having me and for the support! In addition, we are pleased to report that we have had our coroner’s office sign on to participate. The Brown County, OH Coroner’s Office has agreed to assist us in our study. We are so happy to have them on board!

– Katie Renner, Research Assistant

Bridging the gap between services and veterans in Orange County

Over the last few months, the Orange County CAT has continued to have important discussions around issues relevant to the veteran society here, bringing our total number of meetings to nine. Recent topics have included college spaces, employment, and available community resources. Through these conversations, it has become clear that Orange County is a community with a relatively higher amount of available resources for veterans. However, attendees have also brought to attention that one of the biggest challenges here is also a chronic disconnect between veterans who have needs and the services that we are lucky to have. This is a key piece of insight that will inform further problem-solving in the community.

– Zaynah Khan, Research Assistant

Data analysis begins for the Panhandle of Florida

The retrospective data for Florida has been received and is being analyzed by the University of Alabama staff to identify trends in veteran suicides and self-harm for the state as well as the panhandle region. Another meeting was held with the Medical Examiner’s office and a plan is in place to receive data for 2019 and forward.

Our Community Action Team continues to grow, which provides a wider variety of expertise to address our community needs. During this quarter, the team was busy. In June, we hosted Dr. Karl Hamner, who provided a detailed update of the progress of the study and the next steps in the project. In July, our team focused on substance use issues related to veterans; Dr. Kyle Bewsey from the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, and Jennifer Luchak from CDAC, a community behavioral health resource for substance abuse prevention and intervention in Northwest Florida, discussed the services their organizations offer and led a very passionate discussion about needs and gaps in our area. Dr. Bewsey requested to become a part of the Community Action Team and has been welcomed to the group.

– Kathy Monson, Research Assistant