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Alaska VA Suicide Prevention challenge awards coins high risk Veterans who complete a Safety Plan

Overview of VA Resources in Alaska

The Suicide Prevention Program sends recovery-oriented cards to Alaska Veterans considered at risk. The Mental Health Wellness Council and the Suicide Prevention Program are building a collection of Alaska Veterans’ artwork to be used on these cards. Each month, from October 2012 through September 2013, an Alaska Veteran’s original work will be featured on the front of the monthly card. Cards contain a Recovery-oriented message related to the cover art, as well as the Veterans Crisis Line and local crisis contact information.

Thirty-seven original works were submitted this year, and the final twelve selected for the FY2013 cards were displayed on Wed. Sept. 12, 2012 in the Atrium of the VA Clinic at 1201 N. Muldoon Road, Anchorage.

Each Mental Health staff member who is involved in Safety Planning and Risk Assessment will have a small supply of the striking Alaska VA Suicide Prevention challenge award coins to distribute to high risk Veterans who complete a Safety Plan. Community Based Outpatient Clinic Mental Health clinicians will also have these coins. The idea is to honor Veterans planning for their own safety, with the added benefit of the Veterans Crisis Line number available on each coin. Coin awards are a long-standing military tradition and are likely to be carried in a pocket or kept even if other safety planning tools are not available. Thanks to the former Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Karen Doss, for designing and obtaining these coins.

The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, 24/7 confidential resource that connects veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders. Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net.

For more information about veterans suicide prevention efforts and mental health resources, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov.