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Washington

Uniting to Save the Lives of Veterans and Active-Duty Military

By Donald Lachman, Special Projects Coordinator, and Andrea Talmadge, Regional Coordinator

Like our colleagues in Oregon, WestCare Washington (WCWA)/WAServes is blessed to work with an exceptional team of specialists as we unite to develop a highly-competitive submission for the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program (SSG Fox SPGP). This funding aligns with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide. It fosters a unique opportunity to wed the collective resources and experience of the VA with local community organizations in a shared mission to reduce Veteran suicides and attempts. It advances the VA’s commitment to implementing a public health approach and merging community-based prevention with evidence-based clinical strategies.

This grant allows WCWA to introduce the use of the Unite US network platform. This case management tool elevates the Veterans’ service experience by improving provider information sharing as well as network response and accountability.

The bare numbers below do not convey the lasting trauma of Veteran suicides and attempts in Washington. This human toll continues to rise in our state:

1. 255 Washington Veterans died by suicide in 2019.

2. For every suicide, there are nine attempts often resulting in long-term

injuries and/or severe trauma.

3. 20% of all Washington suicides are Veterans.

4. 70% of Veterans used firearms.

5. 46% of Veteran suicides were 65 years and older.

6. 46% were in a relationship.

7. 33% reported experiencing stress, anxiety, or depressive states.

8. 35% left a suicide note.

WCWA will employ the investments supported by this funding to promote and utilize evidence-based best practices in suicide prevention. We are targeting Veterans and organization staff in two of our state’s most populous regions, King and Snohomish counties. This funding will allow WCWA to foster a sustainable suicide prevention and care alliance with the VA Puget Sound Health Care System as well as select community stakeholders. Additionally, we are emphasizing prevention services to Veterans subgroups who are at a higher risk of suicide.

Our comprehensive prevention program benefits from working relationships which have been years in the making. Local partners committed to participating include the YWCA, The VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, Operation Military Family, Brigadoon Service Dogs, Vet Centers, the VA’s Expiration Term of Service (ETS) Sponsorship Program, and Unite US. We have earned credibility by providing a consistently high-quality client and provider service experience.

Our comprehensive prevention program benefits from working relationships which have been years in the making. Local partners committed to participating include the YWCA, The VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, Operation Military Family, Brigadoon Service Dogs, Vet Centers, the VA’s Expiration Term of Service (ETS) Sponsorship Program, and Unite US. We have earned credibility by providing a consistently high-quality client and provider service experience.

By WestCare

We're a family of nonprofit organizations providing a wide spectrum of health and human services across the United States, 3 U.S. territories, and 2 Republics.

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