Newsletter

September 2017

Vets Views

Page 3 

 

Retirement Services Officers (RSOs)

Do you have questions on benefits, SBP, Retiree Appreciation Days or anything else retirement-related? Then contact the RSO for your area or go to the Army Retirement Services website http://www.armyg1.army.mil/retire (Note: That’s the number 1 after the g).

Sister Service Retiree Publications

Air Force Afterburner: http://www.retirees.af.mil/afterburner/

Coast Guard Evening Colors: http://www.uscg.mil/ppc/retnews/

Marine Corps Semper Fi: https://www.manpower.usmc.mil, then click on “Semper Fidelis Online” under “News and Features” Navy Shift Colors: http://www.npc.navy.mil/ReferenceLibrary/Publication

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 1, 2017

September Marks Suicide Prevention Month

WASHINGTON – The message from the Department of Veterans Affairs to the friends and families of Veterans during Suicide Prevention Month is simple: Be There.

“We know that in 2014, an average of 20 Veterans a day died in this country from suicide, which is 20 too many,” said VA Secretary David J. Shulkin. “This is a national public health crisis requiring a national public health approach. When it comes to preventing Veteran suicide, VA can’t – and should not – do this alone.”

For Suicide Prevention Month, VA has a number of outreach events planned to raise awareness. Among some of the top events planned: A number of declaration signings will be held throughout the month within the entire VA health care system, the Department of Defense, Veteran service organizations and with other partners around the country that show a commitment of solidarity to prevent Veteran suicides.

Each VA facility will also be asked to commit to Be There, ensuring Veterans get the mental health support they need through a “no wrong door” philosophy. The VA declaration promises:

To adopt a “no wrong door” philosophy for suicide prevention so every VA employee will assist Veterans in need;

To work with our Community Veteran Engagement Boards or other community partner in suicide prevention efforts;

To establish a “buddy system” so Veterans can reach out to someone when needed;

To continue implementation of Press 7, for our telephone systems, where feasible, to provide immediate access to the Veterans and Military Crisis Line To establish open access in our facility mental health clinics and same day access in our community based mental health clinics within six months, to ensure prompt attention to the needs of our Veterans; To work across clinical specialties to ensure Veterans receive integrated speciality pain management and sleep services as needed;

To ensure all staff and employees clinical suicide prevention training;

To arrange appointments for Veterans seeking care through Enhanced Enrollment procedures; and

To increase the number of Veterans and providers connecting through our Telemental Health services.

A suicide prevention toolkit is being distributed around the country to stakeholders and community partners.

A number of partnerships will be announced including a national network of volunteer professionals at Give an Hour to expand community-based mental health services for Veteran and military communities.

Outreach efforts will target communities and military units that are experiencing high rates of suicide. We are not waiting until they are in crisis.

VA is continuing its work with the Department of Defense to identify at-risk service members and enroll them for VA care and engage them through community programs before they transition out of the military, with a day planned in which employees of both departments will be encouraged to wear the same color to show commitment to suicide prevention.

Month-long social media events are planned including a Thunderclap, twitter and blog posts; Instagram takehover; Facebook live and other social media media events targeted at suicide prevention.

Veterans in crisis can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or text to 838255. Veterans can also visit Make the Connection, a powerful network of stories of recovery, to learn more: http://maketheconnection.net. For more information and resources, visit and

VeteransCrisisLine.net/BeThere VeteransCrisisLine.net/SpreadTheWord.

Reporters covering this issue are strongly encouraged to visit www.ReportingOnSuicide.Org for important guidance on ways to communicate on suicide.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 31, 2017

VA to Increase Access to Safe and Effective Lung Screening Programs

 

WASHINGTON — Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a new partnership to increase access to lung screening for Veterans. Sponsored by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, the project brings together experts from within and outside VA to develop the VA-PALS Implementation Network (VA-Partnership to increase Access to Lung Screening). Its goal is to develop early-detection programs for lung cancer, a malignancy with an 80 percent cure rate when caught early.

This new project will launch lung-screening services at the Phoenix VA Health Care System by December 2017, and then extend these services to nine additional VA medical facilities starting in 2018. Once fully implemented, the project has the potential to become even more widely available throughout VA.

“This partnership is another example of VA’s work to improve Veterans health and well-being,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “The VA-PALS lung screening initiative demonstrates our priority to work together with outside organizations to provide more efficient care aimed at addressing serious health concerns.”

The VA-PALS initiative builds upon lessons learned from currently available screening programs, including those of VA’s Office of Rural Health, which is supporting the project’s goal to reach Veterans living in rural areas. It also adds to a portfolio of other major VA lung cancer initiatives, which include the VALOR Trial (Veterans Affairs Lung Cancer Or Stereotactic Radiotherapy) and the APOLLO Network (Applied Proteogenomics Organizational Learning and Outcomes). “Research shows that with comprehensive lung screening programs, early identification of lung cancer leads to more effective treatments and, ultimately, saves lives,” said John Damonti, president of Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is proud to partner with the VA-PALS Implementation Network in this important step to increase access to state-of-the-art screening for Veterans at risk of lung cancer.”