Nationwide, a total of 22 veterans commit suicide a day due to struggles of readjustment and subsequent behavioral issues. The suicide rate for veterans in Guam and the CNMI continues to be a major community concern. One suicide in this community is one too many.
To combat this, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded Guam funding for a new program called, “Together with Veterans,” a rural veteran suicide prevention program. TWV funding will develop suicide prevention training, resources, and materials.
The project has three priority areas and strategies: identify service members, veterans, and their families and screen for suicide risk; promote connectedness and improved care transitions; and increase lethal means and safety planning.
The TWV program committee competed the initial training and launch. Initial training involved a steering committee consisted of community stakeholders, 51% of which are veterans. There will be future meetings for the TWV to develop a needs assessment and action plan.
The TWV community facilitator is Guam Vet Center director Dr. Edward Santos, together with veteran advocate Tania Marie Mendiola, who was assigned the role of TWV community program coordinator.
TWV will extend this program to the CNMI.
For further information on the program or any questions, contact Santos 1 (671) 472-7161 or Mendiola at 1 (671) 998- 4924. (PR)