New WDVA Program Addresses Veteran Suicide
By WDVA Director, Alfie Alvarado-Ramos
Suicide amongst our veterans and service members unfortunately remains high. Every life matters so losing our brothers and sisters at arms to such an irreversible act is devastating. While we do not know the rate of suicide among family members, we know that the impact of suicide on them is significant.
Suicide prevention is everyone’s business, and it is toward that end the Washington State Legislature provided funding to WDVA to fund a suicide prevention effort. WDVA Counseling and Wellness Programs received funding and subsequently hired Codie Garza, MSPH, Suicide Prevention Coordinator. He program’s mission is to:
·Create a statewide plan on suicide prevention specific to service members, veterans and their families;
·Create and deliver statewide suicide and awareness prevention training programs;
·Collaborate with government and non-government agencies/organizations to establish best practices for suicide awareness and prevention materials targeting servicemembers, veterans and their families;
·Cultivate peer-led organizations serving veterans in transition and recovery, and
·Provide safer homes materials and trainings and distribute safe firearms storage devices.
Suicide prevention doesn’t rest on the shoulders of one individual for there are other WDVA Programs such as Traumatic Brain Injury, Veterans Peer Corps, and War Trauma Counseling who also work toward suicide prevention and postvention efforts…and YOU!
We believe an injury to one is an injury to all and every person can make a difference in suicide prevention. Individuals consider suicide when the emotional and psychological pain in their lives is so great the only option is to take one’s life. Look for updates on this program in the coming months, and if you would like to learn how to become a suicide prevention advocate, please call Codie Garza or any member of the Counseling and Wellness Team at Codie.Garza@DVA.WA.GOV or 360-725-9849.