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Mental health resources provide lifeline for local veterans in crisis


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Mental health is a battle for many Americans, and for many of our country’s veterans, it is a war that must be fought on many fronts. The Dayton VA Medical Center has many programs to support the mental health of our local veterans.

Vietnamese-era veteran Philip Kearney said he suffered from both emotional pain, the death of his wife, and physical pain. Kearney first injured his neck while serving in the military and years later a wheelchair accident left him unable to use his right arm.

Kearney said he knows all too well how tempting he is to give up. “You get depressed … that’s when it gets really hard on you.”

These emotional battles are not uncommon, especially for our country’s veterans. Kearney was able to get a boost from recreational therapy and wheelchair bowling, however, other veterans may need a more focused approach. This is where the VA’s suicide prevention program comes in.

“We have the opportunity to follow veterans identified as being at high risk of suicide. “And we help make sure they’re connected so they can have their appointments. If they miss their appointments, my staff is in charge of following up with them to make sure they’re okay, ”said Karen Wolfe, suicide prevention coordinator at Dayton VA.

In addition to working directly with the veteran, the Suicide Prevention Team also helps train their families and friends. “It’s kind of there to support family members who don’t know much about suicide or a crisis. What to do, ”Wolfe said.

The program helps combat veteran suicide on multiple fronts, depending on the needs of each veteran. For more information on Dayton VA Medical Center resources, visit www.dayton.va.gov.


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