Amarillo VA recognizes first Texas Veterans Suicide Prevention Day

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 5:25 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2023 at 6:09 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Amarillo VA Health Care System is recognizing the first Texas Veterans Suicide Day during National Suicide Prevention Month.

As of January 2023, veterans experiencing a suicidal crisis can receive free emergency health care. The Amarillo VA is working diligently to increase the amount of behavioral health services they offer.

“We’re offering increased behavioral health services. We’re constantly growing and expanding and increasing the quality of the services that we offer, and so we’re offering new evidence-based therapies, we’re offering increased medication services as well as increased collateral services, such as home base services for the veterans that can’t come to the clinic,” said Nathan Bradley, Suicide Prevention Program Coordinator.

73% of Texas veterans who die by suicide use a firearm. The VA is promoting it’s work to distribute gun locks as well as provide education about the benefits of safe storage.

“What is thought of when we distribute those is with the idea of lethal means restriction, so putting a barrier between the thought and the action, and so that’s why we put so much focus on gun lock distribution and we have increased the number of gun locks we’ve provided year by year over the past three years,” said Bradley.

Bradley says although there’s no way of knowing who is at risk, it’s important to have the proper resources available to help someone when they struggle.

Bradley urges veterans experiencing a crisis to contact the 24/7 veterans crisis line by dialing 988 then one.

In honor of this month, the public is invited to attend the first annual behavioral health block party.

The event will be held on Sept. 30 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.