Fall is a busy time at NCHV. With the start of a new federal fiscal year comes a series of online trainings and meetings as well as high demand for technical assistance from service providers and federal grantees. In these busy times, it’s easy to get caught up in the work itself, methodically checking off items on the to-do list as we go. In our rush to house veterans, we may miss the individual veteran sitting right in front of us.

Many of those veterans come to service providers with a range of mental health needs. Is the staff at your program prepared to recognize and respond to those needs? Does your organization provide training on mental health, suicide prevention, or crisis intervention to everyone, not just frontline staff? We know that veterans experiencing homelessness are at great risk for suicide and that suicide is preventable. What we don’t know is who will be in a position to intervene so we must all be prepared.

As National Suicide Prevention Month begins, take a step back and examine what you can do to better prepare yourself and your organization. The VA, in partnership with the PyschArmor Institute, has developed a course on suicide prevention: S.A.V.E., which outlines four key steps in suicide prevention:

S – Signs of suicide should be recognized

A – Ask the most important question of all

V – Validated the veteran’s experience

E – Encourage treatment and Expedite getting help

To access the course visit: https://psycharmor.org/courses/s-a-v-e/, and to access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). TTY at 1-800-799-4889.