DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Mental health is a battle for a lot of Americans and for many of our nation’s veterans, it’s a war that must be fought on several fronts. The Dayton VA Medical Center has numerous programs to support the mental health of our local veterans.
Vietnam-era veteran Philip Kearney said he dealt with both emotional pain, from dealing with the death of his wife, and physical pain. Kearney first injured his neck while serving in the army and years later a wheelchair accident left him unable to use his right arm.
Kearney said he knows all too well how tempting it is to give up. “You get depressed… that’s when it gets really hard on you.”
Those emotional battles are not uncommon, especially for our nation’s veterans. Kearney was able to get a boost from recreational therapy and wheelchair bowling, however, other veterans may need a more targeted approach. That’s where the VA’s suicide prevention program comes in.
“We have the opportunity to follow veterans who are identified as high risk for suicide. “And we help ensure that they’re linked up so they have their appointments. If they miss their appointments, my staff is right on top of following up with them making sure they’re okay,” said Karen Wolfe, Dayton VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator.
In addition to working directly with the veteran, the suicide prevention team also helps train their families and friends. “It’s kind of there to support the family members that don’t really know a lot about suicide or a crisis. What to do,” said Wolfe.
The program is helping fight the war against veteran suicide on several fronts, based on what each individual veteran needs. For more information on resources at the Dayton VA Medical Center, visit www.dayton.va.gov.