May 21—Carbon County is home to about 8% of Pennsylvania's veterans, but the county also has the highest suicide rate among veterans in the commonwealth.
A new collaborative between the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Carbon County Veterans Affairs Office is focused on reducing that startling suicide statistic to zero.
The two partners have adopted the Together With Veterans model, which requires an action plan to address veteran suicide prevention. Together With Veterans is a community-based suicide prevention program that partners rural veterans and community agencies.
The key elements of the plan are identifying service members, veterans and family members and screening for suicide risk; promoting connectedness and improving care transitions; and reducing access to lethal suicide methods and enhancing safety planning.
"Carbon County is experiencing a high rate of veteran suicide so adopting the TWV model is an excellent way to structure a strategy that will address this concerning issue," said Joel Mutschler, director, DMVA Bureau of Veterans Programs, Initiatives, Reintegration, and Outreach. "Carbon County is focused and committed on helping veterans in crisis, which makes the county an ideal community partner."
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