By Gary Compton, Director of Contract Compliance
In September, WestCare Kentucky was awarded the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant, allowing us to provide a comprehensive suicide prevention program for Veterans located within Floyd, Letcher, and Pike counties. This three-year prevention program will incorporate the Veterans Association’s (VA) National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide that encompasses four interconnected strategic directions:
- Healthy and Empowered Veterans, Families, and Communities
- Clinical and Community Preventive Services
- Treatment and Support Services; and
- Surveillance, Research, and Evaluation
WestCare Kentucky has committed to screen 150 Veterans annually and to provide services to 100 Veterans yearly. Potential participants will be connected to the program at various locations and through other WestCare Kentucky programs including Perry Cline Homeless Shelter, Pike County Detention Center Substance Abuse Program, Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, the Hal Rogers Appalachian Recovery Center, and the Judi Patton Center for Healthy Families.
The suicide prevention program employs a program director, clinician, outreach specialist, case manager, and peer support specialist to provide services in Southeastern Kentucky. Our local Veterans will be given priority as employment candidates for these positions.
The Veterans suicide prevention program will provide screenings utilizing the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale. To provide the best level of care and services, staff will be trained in Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), safeTALK, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM), Moral Recognition Therapy (MRT), and Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS).
Services will be provided through individual, group, and family counseling. Linkages will be provided to community partners for primary healthcare, housing, transportation, legal services, and daily living needs. WestCare Kentucky case management will assist participants in enrolling for Veteran benefits and or public benefits. Participants will be linked to the VA and if non-service-connected, to Medicaid and other programs. No Veteran or Veteran family members will be turned away and there is no wrong door for entry.
WestCare Kentucky is honored to have been chosen as an SSG Fox grant recipient. Kentucky Veterans die by suicide at a rate nearly twice that of the general population in the United States. So, we view this opportunity to serve our Veteran population with community-based suicide prevention efforts, in memory of SSG Parker Gordon Fox, as a privilege!