Community collaboration has turned out to be a new tool to enhancing mental health care and preventing any suicide cases among the New Hampshire's veterans, that is according to a statement released on Tuesday by the Manchester VA Medical Center officials.
Daily about 20 veterans commit suicide nationwide, only six out of the 20 were able to access health care services through the VA in the year before their deaths. While speaking to those who attended the annual mental health summit, Dr. Brett Rusch made this shocking announcement, noting that the VA recently added two suicide prevention coordinators in Manchester, which is still not enough to deal with the number of suicidal cases among veterans.
Rusch, who is the center's acting chief of staff, said it’s the work of the community to identify the other 14 veterans who are at risk of committing suicide. A work that has been going on for the past few years. Just two years ago the New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services started a unique program to create military liaison positions in all the community mental health centers that are in the state and a statewide campaign to motivate the health care providers, social service organizations and others to ask patients and clients if they have ever served in the military.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan also said that she had started talking with her colleagues back in Washington on whether the "Ask the Question" initiative can be expanded to the other states. The Senator mentioned her other efforts, which included co-sponsoring a bill that had been signed by President Donald Trump last month that is aimed at reducing wait times and improving the process for veterans seeking benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The other bill that she co-sponsored was the one that saw VA services to female veterans was expanded.
During a session that involved question-and-answer, one of the psychologists from the hospital inquired whether the mental health staffing levels will be increased so as to ensure that patients can get ongoing treatment.