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Fayetteville VA Coastal Health Care System
Truck Pull brings awareness to suicide prevention
By Jeff Melvin, Fayetteville (NC) VA Coastal HCS Public Affairs Officer
Monday, September 9, 2019Fayetteville (NC) VA Coastal Health Care System Suicide Prevention Team, Fort Bragg Harley-Davidson, Department of Defense - Fort Bragg Suicide Prevention Program, Rick Herrema Foundation, and Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Cape Fear Valley hosted “Pull for Prevention,” a community event to bring awareness to suicide prevention and mental health support Sept. 7, 2019.
The event was developed in line with the VA’s national strategy to expand community outreach, in efforts to reduce the number of Veterans who die by suicide.
“Veterans are an integral part of this community. While some organizations specifically serve Veterans, it is important to recognize that effective outreach to Veterans requires outreach in diverse settings like a motorcycle dealership, said Patricia Glenn, FNCCHCS Suicide Prevention Program Supervisor who leads a team that includes a suicide prevention coordinator and a suicide prevention case manager at Fayetteville VAMC, Fayetteville Health Care Center, Jacksonville Community-based Outpatient Clinic and Wilmington Health Care Center, respectively. “Holding the event in in collaboration with DOD and community partners creates access and awareness to the community, service members, veterans and their families.” Pull for Prevention” began with 4-person parachute jump from the All Veteran Parachute Team out of Raeford, NC.
Guest Speaker retired Army Master Sgt. Chris Corbin, former Army Ranger and Green Beret who was wounded in Afghanistan in 2011 provided insight and encouragement for those facing obstacles and mental health challenges often amplified by military service.
More than 40 community, public and private organizations came together during the vent to share information about mental health, wellness and resources available to service members, veterans and their families.
The kids tent provided free snacks, games and passports to encourage interaction with the vendors, local race cars and service dogs. Other highlights included jeep displays, veteran outreach organizations, free food and live music. The main attraction, the human truck pull, and car deadlift allowed over 200 attendees to challenge themselves physically and mentally to “Pull for Prevention” across the parking lot. The truck weighed in at 10,000 pounds and the car deadlift approximated a hefty 300-pound lift from the ground. “Our hope for this event,” Glenn said, “is attendees left with education, information and contacts that can support them in times of distress, crisis, recovery and postvention.”
“We recognize to reach all Veterans, we must build effective networks of support, communication, and care across this community where our Veterans live and work every day. With resources, services and events like these here today, to raise awareness about suicide, reduce the stigma, and encourage prevention we can work together as a community to prevent these tragic deaths by suicide among Veterans and Service Members,” the FNCCHCS Suicide Prevention Program Supervisor added.
To learn about the resources available for Veterans and how you can Be There as a VA employee, family member, friend, community partner or clinician, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/resources.asp.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.