VA recognizes World Mental Health Day

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) joined organizations, communities, leaders and mental health professionals to observe World Mental Health Day Oct. 10.
This year’s theme was “mental health promotion and suicide prevention,” and the VA urged all veterans, service members, family and friends to learn about the resources and support available for those experiencing signs or symptoms of a mental health condition and to help prevent suicide among veterans.
“Suicide prevention is VA’s top clinical priority,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “As I’ve noted previously, this requires an all-hands-on-deck comprehensive approach. Encouraging communities to engage and participate in awareness activities is a critical element in our public health strategy to reducing veteran deaths by suicide.”
Every 40 seconds, someone dies by suicide somewhere around the world. The VA and the World Federation of Health Mental Health (WFMH) want everyone to know that mental health treatment is effective, recovery is possible and suicide is preventable.
Join the VA and the WFMH in taking 40 seconds for action. Your actions may provide the encouragement a loved one needs to seek help or even help prevent a suicide attempt. Here are a few ways to participate:
• Explore the Veterans Crisis Line and suicide prevention links to learn about the many ways you can be there for a veteran in need and more information.
• Visit MakeTheConnection.net to watch videos of over 500 veterans — from every service era and branch — share their stories of coping with major life events, overcoming mental health challenges and finding a new sense of purpose. Then, share one of these inspiring stories with a veteran loved one.
• Check out MentalHealth.va.gov for information and resources on a variety of mental health topics and conditions, including suicide risk, anxiety, depression and more.
• Connect with Coaching Into Care, a free telephone service for family members, friends and loved ones of veterans who may need mental health support. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call (888) 823-7458 to get started.
If you are a veteran in crisis or are concerned about one, the Veterans Crisis Line is here to help. Call (800) 273-8255 and press 1, send a text message to 838255 or chat online.
For more information
The office of the Archuleta County veterans service officer (VSO) provides assistance to qualified military veterans and their families, or a veteran’s survivors, in applying to and in obtaining VA program assistance, benefits and claims. This assistance is provided within the guidelines, policies and procedures established by the Colorado Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. This is a mandated program of the state of Colorado.
For further information on VA benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office, located at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard. The best way to contact me is to set up an appointment, for either at your home or in the office, so I can schedule a specific time in order to answer and assist each veteran in Archuleta County.
The office number is 264-4013; fax number is 264-4014 and email is raytaylor@archuletacounty.org. Bring your DD Form 214 (discharge) for applications to VA programs or benefits for which the veteran may be entitled to enroll, and for filing in the Archuleta County VSO office. Always leave me a message and phone number to contact you.
Veterans’ groups
The following veterans groups meet in Pagosa Springs:
• American Legion Post 108: second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.
• American Legion Post 108 Ladies Auxiliary: Second Tuesday of the month at 4 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.
• Veterans for Veterans: Every Tuesday at 10 a.m., St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd.
• Combat Veterans PTSD Group: Every other Tuesday at noon, Community United Methodist Church, 434 Lewis St. Contact Gary Hanneman at 946-2540.
• Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans: First and third Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Dr. Sharon Carter’s office. Contact Charlotte at 903-9690.
Important numbers
• 799-VETS, www.Vets4VetsPSCO.org.
• Durango VA Outpatient Clinic: 247-2214.
• Farmington VA Center: (505) 326-4383.
• VAMC Albuquerque NM: (800) 465-8262.
• VAMC Albuquerque NM emergency notification: (800) 465-8262, ext. 5739.
The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support to veterans in crisis, as well as their family and friends 24/7/365. Call (800) 273-8255, chat online or text 838255.

This story was posted on October 22, 2019.