Gov. Ivey announces veterans suicide prevention program

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Governor Kay Ivey Media Event to Announce Veteran Suicide Prevention Efforts

Governor Kay Ivey spoke at a Media Event to Announce Veteran Suicide Prevention Efforts May 14, 2021 in Montgomery, Ala. (Governor’s Office/Hal Yeager)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WRBL) — Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced Friday a new statewide suicide prevention initiative for service members, veterans, and their families (SMVF).

Governor Ivey was joined at the Alabama State Capitol by members of Alabama’s Challenge for Preventing Suicide Among SMVF to introduce the initiative to create a long-term outcome across the state, according to a news release.

Governor Ivey said, “I can think of no better way to say, ‘thank you for your service’ than ensuring these heroes and their families have access to mental health resources when in need.”

In Alabama, the veteran suicide rate is even higher than the national veteran average and significantly higher than the national civilian average.

Approximately 17 veterans in the U.S. dying by suicide per day.

Recently released data shows nearly 18% of those who died by suicide in Alabama are veterans. Only 9.1% of Alabamians have served.

Male veterans die by suicide at a rate 1.3 times higher than civilian counterparts, and for women veterans it is 2.1 times higher.

The Governor’s Challenge program was established in 2020 with three specific focus areas: identifying and screening SMVF who might be at risk, promoting connectedness and improving care transitions, and limiting access to lethal objects used in self-directed violence.

The Governor’s Challenge team attended webinars on subjects including outreach to rural veterans, garnering policy support, community collaboration, safe messaging, strategic communications, and engaging veterans at risk.

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