Bath VA raises awareness for suicide prevention
BATH, N.Y. (WENY) - The month of September is known as National Suicide Prevention Month. For several years now, the Bath VA Medical Center has been honored for raising awareness for suicide prevention.
With this week being Suicide Prevention Week, the Bath VA Medical Center hosted their annual event for veterans and their families, as well as the public. On Thursday, the Bath VA held their "Power of One Walk" and their VA and Community Provider event. More than 40 VA and Community Providers were there to help anyone who is in crisis to prevent suicide. According to experts, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with one death happening on average every 12 minutes. Experts also say New York State ranks last in the nation in rate of suicide deaths.
"If we're looking at veterans, specific numbers, we're losing 20 veterans a day to suicide. Only six of those are linked with VA healthcare so that's 14 veterans in the community who are dying by suicide, and we need to help the community and the community helps us," says Jennifer Haggerty, the Suicide Prevention Coordinator for Bath VA Medical Center.
A few different activities were also offered at the event, including sidewalk chalk paintings, Yoga, Tai Chi, and visiting pet therapy resource.
"The dogs provide a very calm, furry head to pet, just relax take it easy. There have been a lot of studies done where they've shown that people interacting with dogs releases endorphins, it lowers blood pressure, it lowers the heart beat and so forth. It's just a very calming influence on people to have the dogs around," says Mike Dean, the Director of Therapy Dogs International for Bath.
The Bath VA Medical Center says they look forward to continuing their annual event in the coming years.