Our CAT in South Alabama has been hard at work creating connections that can potentially save lives. One of our CAT members, a police officer, recently intervened on a Veteran suicide attempt. After helping the Veteran get admitted for care at a local hospital, several subsequent phone calls were made between different CAT members, including the local VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator. With just this one CAT member’s willingness and action, our entire community was mobilized to coordinate the Veteran’s care and ensure supports were in place once they left the hospital.
The need for such community-level coordination was a significant feature of the recent America’s Warrior Partnership’s Annual Symposium. I especially appreciated hearing about the unique suicide risks of Veterans with Other Than Honorable administrative discharges or Dishonorable discharges. Certain Veteran benefits (e.g., VA medical, education, home loan, etc.) require specific discharge statuses, and this can be true regardless of whether their discharge was related to a known mental health condition. Consequently, we must make a community-level effort to support and connect those Veterans locked out of the VA to proper organizations.
– Nicholas Fadoir