VA Medical Centers to host joint workshop

July 29, 2018

CHARLESTON—The Beckley, Clarksburg, and Huntington VA Medical Centers are hosting a joint outreach training event for West Virginia spiritual leaders from faith-based communities to learn about Veteran suicide prevention and the benefits of the Veterans Health Administration.

The luncheon workshop will be Tuesday, July 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the West Virginia Capitol Complex. The event will take place in the Capitol Room, on the second floor of Building 7.

Operation S.A.V.E. (Signs of suicide, Asking about suicide, Validating feelings, Encouraging help and Expediting treatment) is a one-hour training program provided by a VA suicide prevention team. Operation S.A.V.E. was developed by the Education Corps of the VA Center of Excellence and consists of interactive content. A briefing about the overall benefits of the VHA will also be presented.

Those who participate in the workshop will walk away more confident in how to address the topic of suicide, including understanding the scope and importance of suicide prevention, how to identify a person with at-risk signs/symptoms, how to effectively communicate with a suicidal person, how to help the person, and how to refer a person for evaluation and treatment.

The Beckley VA Medical Center hosted a similar training workshop in March for spiritual leaders in southern West Virginia and received positive feedback.

“We have decided to provide this program for our community since there has been a recent national Veterans Health Administration initiative aimed at partnering with community-based organizations to cast a broader net to help our Veterans,” said Beckley VAMC Director, Stacy Vasquez.

Spiritual leaders in faith-based communities hold a special position in many Veterans’ lives and can play an important part of suicide prevention. Where there’s faith, there’s hope, and where there’s hope, there’s life. Those who wish to participate may contact Public Affairs Officer Sara Yoke at 304-255-2121, Ext. 4883 (office) or sara.yoke@va.gov.

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