Illinois pledges suicide prevention resources for service members, veterans
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Organizations looking to support Service Members, Veterans and their Families (SMVF) can now receive free online training on suicide prevention and mental health.
The short courses, provided through a partnership with PsychArmor, are geared toward professionals who work with service individuals and/or their families. The training program covers a range of topics including the signs and symptoms of PTSD, depression and anxiety, how to recognize these symptoms and provide appropriate resources.
“By providing specialized support and resources, such as crisis hotlines staffed by trained professionals, counseling services, and outreach programs, we can reach out to veterans in need and offer them the help they deserve,” Grace B. Hou, secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services said. “These services can focus on creating a safe and non-judgmental environment for veterans to discuss their struggles, trauma and emotional pain.”
Hou says that by connecting veterans with peer support networks can foster a sense of community for those feeling isolated or alone.
“Offering suicide prevention services to veterans is a crucial and compassionate initiative aimed at addressing the mental health challenges faced by those who have served in the armed forces,” Hou said.
Program participants can also receive “Veteran Ready” certification, ensuring staff and volunteers are better prepared to support military communities with strategies for suicide prevention, crisis intervention and safe gun storage.
“Males make up 50% of the population but nearly 80% of suicides. Rates of suicide among Illinois’ military population is 26 percent. Our goal is to eliminate suicide,” said Dr. Teresa Glaze, Ph.D, LCSW. “Suicide is preventable and through these new resources, the Governor’s Challenge will continue to raise awareness and reduce stigma, as well as provide tools for people that want to support those that serve and have served our country, as well as to their family and friends.”
For more information and to get involved with the Illinois Governor’s Challenge to eliminate suicide among SMVFs, visit savevets.illinois.gov.
This statewide Veterans Crisis Line serves those struggling with mental health issues and symptoms such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The crisis line is free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers do not need to be enrolled in VA services to use the Veterans Crisis Line. For support, SMVFs can call 988 directly and then press 1, text 838255, or chat online with a trained professional at www.veteranscrisisline.net.
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