SAMHSA Initiative: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Challenge to Prevent Suicide among SMVFs
Earlier this year, the Service Members, Veterans, and Families (SMVF) Technical Assistance Center (TAC), funded by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), selected the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to participate in the Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among SMVF. Co-led by Janene McGee, Division Director of Veterans Services for Mecklenburg County, and Dr. Nicole French, Clinical Director at Veterans Bridge Home and Army Reserve Psychologist, the SMVF Suicide Prevention Workgroup was tasked with examining and developing a map of crisis services and identifying ways to reduce Veteran suicide in the broader community. The SMVF Suicide Prevention Workgroup consists of representatives from diverse organizations and agencies, including the VA, NC Department of Health and Human Services, Atrium Health, Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, NC National Guard, the 145th Air Wing Air National Guard, the American Red Cross, Veterans Bridge Home, Family Preservation Services, Stop Solider Suicide, Novant Health, DoD-Medical Command, Mecklenburg County VSO, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Habitat for Humanity, HUGS (Healing and Understanding of Grief from Suicide), and Visionary Physical Therapy and Wellness.
In June, SAMHSA TAC provided the group access to experts across the nation, resources, and seasoned facilitators to assist the group in developing a Sequential Intercept Crisis Map. In July, this group developed an action plan with additional support from the SAMHSA TAC. Both the Sequential Intercept Crisis Map and action plan are living documents that will evolve as dots are connected between existing and growing resources in this community. The August meeting further cemented the group, culminating with a group vision statement: All who have served will thrive, knowing they belong and where to go to find hope rather than choosing suicide.
Over the next several months the SMVF Suicide Prevention Workgroup will continue to meet as a large workgroup as well as meet within subcommittees to tackle action items aligned with the NC Suicide Prevention Plan. For more information, contact Janene McGee at (980/314-1901; email@example.com) or Dr. Nicole French at (980/999-2311; firstname.lastname@example.org).
September is National Suicide Prevention Month! Consider taking one or all of these actions to increase awareness of this complex public health problem and arm our community with education and resources:
- Share this video on your favorite social media site : Words to Live By
- Get informed about suicide prevention : https://psycharmor.org/courses/s-a-v-e/
- Add the Veterans Crisis Line to your contact list (800.273.8255, press #1 if Veteran OR text 838255)