Kansas healthcare providers working to prevent veteran suicides

Capitol Bureau

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KSNT) – The Veteran Affairs Eastern Kansas’ Community Mental Health Summit occurred on Monday in Lawrence.

Healthcare providers and veterans gathered to learn about more ways to prevent the increase in suicide rates among veterans.

The theme of the summit was to “live connected,” and it was accurately portrayed during the event.

The V.A. encouraged providers to work with the military community and understand their culture to help soldiers receive care before they are in crisis or it is too late.

“Part of the mission act is really recognizing that we want to improve access to care all around,” said Stephanie Davis, suicide prevention coordinator. “And so a lot more veterans are being seen by community providers and so that’s why it’s even more important now for all of us to come together.”

The V.A. has five mission act titles they hope to fulfill. Title I is caring for veterans, and they hope to fulfill this by creating education and training programs, community care programs, and paying providers and improving collections.

Summit attendees heard from Governor Laura Kelly, who mentioned Medicaid expansion helping more uninsured soldiers receive affordable services, in which she received an ovation for.

Former Politician Jason Kander also gave a speech where he talked about his experiences with PTSD and how it cut his campaign trail for president short.

Kander inspired one veteran to get treatment for his PTSD and to focus on his family.

“I’ve got to take care of my family because they’ve lost so much time…from me,” said Chuck Fox, who served in the United States Air Force from 1988 to 2008.

The Veteran’s Crisis Line is available 24/7 and can be contacted by dialing 1-800-273-8251 and then pressing 1.

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