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Latest News

VA staff’s instant action prevents a Veteran suicide

Action Prevents Suicide


Veteran casually mentioned suicide plans at routine appointment

It’s not often that we talk about suicide in terms of lives saved, but recently, the Cleveland VA team saved a Veteran from ending his life.

He came in for his medical appointment for treatment just like any other day. During a casual conversation with a VA team member, he shared his plan for suicide. He had lost hope and didn’t feel he had anything more to offer.

The VA team member wasn’t a mental health provider, a nurse or a doctor, but is a compassionate VA employee who knew how to #BeThere. The VA team member immediately engaged members of the Veteran’s treatment team.

In the photo above, Cleveland VA’s lifesaving team includes (from left) Jose Rivera (ED nurse manager), Kimberly Miller (infusion clinic nurse), Jennifer Davis (dietitian), Erin Valenti (infusion clinic nurse manager), Alexandra Murray (psychiatry intern) and Rocco Burke (police officer).

They showed compassion and talked with the Veteran about his needs and together, then they developed a plan that helped him feel safe.

Every member of the VA team flawlessly executed their role to save this Veteran’s life. They got him to the emergency department and, eventually, to the psychiatric assessment and observation center for further treatment.

Compassionate, dedicated and responsive

“Safety is always my top priority. I am glad the VA has such compassionate, dedicated and responsive resources to ensure a Veteran’s safety at such times,” said Susan P. Berman, VA psychologist.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. We ALL have the power to end Veteran suicide. Preventing suicides doesn’t require special training. It means showing you care, reaching out to Veterans and knowing the warning signs of suicide.

Many common risk factors for suicide are treatable. As a community, we can #BeThere and save Veterans lives through stories of hope and recovery.

Call the Crisis Line for confidential suicide prevention support

If you are a Veteran in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, call the Veterans Crisis Line. Confidential support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at

You also can contact VA’s Coaching Into Care program if you are worried about a Veteran loved one. A licensed psychologist or social worker will provide guidance on motivating your loved one to seek support.

Thank you to our VA team members who work each day to keep our Veterans healthy and safe.


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