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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Workshop highlights veterans suicide prevention resources

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The Collegian Logo

By Catherine Hennigan/reporter

A suicide prevention coordinator with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs spoke about efforts to prevent suicide among veterans during a NW Campus workshop Sept. 13.

“I can’t cure you,” David Welsh said. “Meet me halfway is the only thing I ask from folks.”

In 2014, veterans accounted for 18 percent of all suicide deaths. Twenty-two veterans a day commit suicide, and 65 percent of those are 50 years of age or older. Veterans account for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide.

Welsh advocated Operation SAVE, which stands for signs of suicidal thinking that should be recognized, asking the question if the person is considering suicide, validating the veterans experience and encouraging treatment and expediting getting help.

The Veterans Crisis Line is one way for veterans to seek out assistance. More than 500,000 calls a day. The crisis line also receives more than 15,000 texts and 53,000 chats. Not all calls are suicide-related. Veterans call who cannot get in touch with a clinic about other health-related issues.

Welsh listed myths about suicide, he said.

He said it is vital that if anyone knows someone having suicidal thoughts to not try to sugarcoat confronting them.

Ask them in context if they are thinking about suicide.

“I was pleasantly surprised and moved that the VA has such dedicated workers,” veteran student Kristen LeCompte said.

A video showed the benefits of using the hotline, which impressed student Michael Alarcon.

“I used to think that the Veterans Crisis Line was not worth it, but after watching the video about it, I found that they are very useful and helpful for veterans,” Alarcon said.

The Veterans Crisis Line can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255.

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