By Eden Laikin
Mineola, NY – Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and the Nassau Veterans Health Alliance hosted a free suicide prevention program entitled SafeTALK to assist veterans and other residents in recognizing the signs and symptoms of suicide, best practices in prevention and how to get help.
The program, part of the Mangano administration’s continued efforts to help those returning from military service readjust to civilian life, was held September 26th at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building in Mineola.
“Many veterans suffer from war-related depression, emotional trauma, anxiety and brain injury which can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors,” said County Executive Mangano. “By providing methods of support and services to our veterans, we can help to save lives.”
According to mental health professionals, nearly one quarter of all veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer symptoms. National statistics indicate that approximately 22 veterans a day complete acts of suicide, an increase from 18 a day in 2007. In 2012, around one suicide a day was carried out among active duty service members. On Long Island, nine returning Iraq/Afghanistan veterans either took their own lives or died from accidental drug overdoses last year.
SafeTALK is designed to help inform and educate the average citizen on the signs and symptoms of thoughts of suicide. The goal is to identify persons contemplating suicide and to connect them with suicide prevention resources and forms of intervention programs.
“This is a basic course, where we can help keep an individual “safe” until professional help is available,” added John Javis, Director of Special Projects for the Mental Health Association of Nassau County, which includes the Veterans Health Alliance.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, contact:
National Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (Push #1 if you’re a Veteran);
Mental Health Association of Nassau County: 516-504-HELP (9am-6pm every day.);
Long Island Crisis Hotline: (516) 679-1111 (24/7)