Maine veterans service agencies cohost suicide prevention Call to Action Month

AUGUSTA ― September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Nationally, 20 veterans take their own life every day. Although the number has slowly decreased from 22 veterans a day, the number of lives lost to veteran suicide is far too high.
That is why, during the month of September, Maine Veteran Service Agencies will be hosting a Veteran Suicide Prevention ‘Call to Action Month.’
VA Maine Healthcare System, Maine Vet Centers, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Maine and the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services are taking proactive measures in addressing the epidemic by hosting a series of trainings throughout the State of Maine to better educate Veterans, families, and members of the public on both prevention and awareness.
Recognizing the need for a community solution, the agencies have scheduled nine suicide safety planning and training sessions in Hallowell, Fairfield, Lewiston, Bangor, Augusta, and Biddeford.
* FAMILY CRISIS PLANNING Monday, Sept. 9, 4 – 6 p.m. Lewiston Vet Center – 35 Westminster Street, Lewiston To register, call 207-783-0068
* MY SAFETY PLAN Wednesday, Sept. 11, 5 – 7 p.m. Bangor Vet Center – 615 Odlin Road, Bangor To register, call 207-947-3391
* MENTAL HEALTH SUMMIT Wednesday, Sept. 11, 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Togus Theater, 1 VA Center, Augusta
* LIVING WORKS ASSIST TRAINING Thursday, Sept. 12 and Friday, Sept. 13, 8 a.m. 4:30 p.m. Lewiston Vet Center – 35 Westminster St., Lewiston To register, call 207-783-0068
* SUICIDE SAFETY PLANNING FOR VETERANS, SERVICE MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES Monday, Sept. 16, 4 – 6 p.m. NAMI – 52 Water Street, Hallowell To register, visit:
* MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID FOR VETERANS, SERVICE MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES Tuesday, Sept. 24 from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Kennebec Valley Community College – 92 Western Ave., Fairfield To register, visit:
* SAFETALK TRAINING Friday, Sept. 27, 4 – 8:00 p.m. Seeds of Hope, 35 South St. Biddeford.
“One major barrier that we hear about time and time again is the lack of understanding on how to talk to a friend or loved one about suicide,” said David Richmond, Director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services.
“Throughout the month of September, we want to educate the community about veteran suicide, what the warning signs are, and how to start the conversation with someone who may be in need.”
In addition to the individual training sessions, the Bureau will also be hosting a veteran resource fair at the Maine State House on Tuesday, September 17th. Over 30 veteran service organizations have registered to attend and will provide information on the various therapies and benefits they offer our veterans.
“The Bureau is partnering with like-minded organizations throughout the state of Maine to find alternative therapies and resources that help Veterans – outdoors recreation, acupuncture, K9 service dogs, equine therapy, and additional support with education and employment,” stated Sarah Sherman, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services. “The importance of looking at non-traditional methods is proving an effective way to better serve the Veterans of our state.”
Many Veterans do not show a single sign of wanting to cause harm to themselves before dying by suicide. As family, friends, neighbors and colleagues, we must learn the signs of someone in need. For a complete list of trainings and events during the ‘Call to Action Month’, please visit the MBVS website at
To learn more about available resources for Veterans and their families, contact the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services at 207-430-6035 or visit
If interested in learning more about suicide prevention, contact VA Maine Healthcare System Suicide Prevention Coordinator Tracy Charette at 207-623-8411 ext. 5017v