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Suicide Prevention

If you're a Veteran who is thinking of hurting yourself — or you know a Veteran who’s considering this — we can help. Bay Pines VA's Suicide Prevention Team can get you connected to the support you need. They work with our behavioral health providers and community organizations to assist Veterans who are managing emotional or mental health crises.

How do I talk to someone right now?

If you’re a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, connect with our caring, qualified Veterans Crisis Line responders for confidential help. Many of them are Veterans themselves. This service is private, free, and available 24/7.

To connect with a Veterans Crisis Line responder anytime day or night:

You can also:

  • Call 911.
  • Go to the nearest emergency room.
  • Go directly to your nearest VA medical center. It doesn’t matter what your discharge status is or if you’re enrolled in VA health care.
    Find your nearest VA medical center

Connect to Care 

Our suicide prevention team can help you get ongoing support, like counseling and other services. The team is available during regular business hours.

Phone: 727-398-6661, ext. 14226


VA’s Public Health Approach

VA’s number one clinical priority is preventing Veteran suicide, which requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach. We know that the combined experience, expertise, and leadership of our staff make Bay Pines VA well-positioned to lead this cause but we can’t do it alone. Everyone — including friends, relatives, caregivers, community members, and health care providers ― has a role to play in keeping Veterans  healthy and safe.

Both VA’s National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide and the White House’s national strategy to reduce military and Veteran suicide focus on clinical interventions and community-based outreach prevention strategies

Bay Pines VA Suicide Prevention Team

Bay Pines VA Suicide Prevention Team, Group Photo June 2024

Suicide Prevention Coordinators and Care Managers

The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System’s Suicide Prevention Coordinators and Care Managers are responsible for:

  • Conducting case management and coordination services for Veterans who carry a high-risk flag for suicide.  When a Veteran has a high-risk flag for suicide, team members offer support, advocacy, care coordination, and resources for that Veteran to work on his or her recovery goals
  • Managing consults from the Veterans Crisis Line and providing follow-up to facilitate the care Veterans need
  • Promoting awareness about suicide within the healthcare system and community
  • Using the knowledge they've gained as subject matter experts to provide suicide prevention training to VA employees
  • Providing suicide prevention training to Veteran groups, community agencies, and other Veteran-centered partners
  • Numerous internal administrative tasks

COMPACT Act Coordinator

The COMPACT Act Coordinator is responsible for coordinating care for Veterans in acute suicidal crisis. The coordinator helps with care transitions, both within the VA and in community care settings, and works to make sure that Veterans are not billed for any services that are provided under the COMPACT Act.

Post Discharge Engagement Team

Our Post Discharge Engagement Team offers short-term support to Veterans who have been discharged from an acute stay for assistance with mental health or substance abuse. The team's purpose is to promote engagement with aftercare in a manner that contributes to lasting recovery. 

Community Engagement and Partnership Coordinators

Community Engagement and Partnership Coordinators (CEPC) work with internal and external stakeholders and serve as experts in community-based interventions for suicide prevention. CEPCs facilitate the development of community-led coalitions that focus on the following priority areas:

  • Identifying Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF)
  • Screening for suicide risk among SMVF
  • Promoting connectedness
  • Improving care transitions
  • Increasing Lethal Means Safety
  • Safety planning

No single agency can end Veteran suicide. If you are passionate about preventing suicide among Veterans, please join us. Partners may include the following:

  • Community mental health organizations or Veterans Service Organizations
  • Homeless organizations
  • Mental health providers
  • First responders or members of the clergy
  • Representatives of a municipality, business, recreational organization, or club
  • Health agencies
  • Veterans, service members, or members of their families
  • Gun shop owners or employees
  • Community members

If you're ready to support ending Veteran suicide, reach out to your local CEPCs to explore how you can adopt a priority area. CEPCs can assist community partners with conducting needs assessments, enhancing knowledge about VA, creating opportunities for Veteran connections, and identifying training needs regarding topics such as suicide prevention strategies, military culture, and lethal means safety. To learn more, email

Lethal Means Safety and Suicide Prevention

Anyone - Veteran or not - can request a gun lock by clicking here and providing their name, mailing address, and number of gun locks they're requesting.

Lethal means are objects that may be used by individuals who are experiencing a suicidal crisis. They include things like guns, medications, alcohol, opioids, ropes, cords, or sharp objects. If a Veteran is in crisis, or is having suicidal thoughts, these items can become deadly if easily accessible.

Increasing the time and distance between a person in suicidal crisis and their access to lethal means can reduce the risk of suicide and save lives. The VA's Keep It Secure program promotes awareness about the simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. 

Secure Firearm Storage

Crisis can happen unexpectedly to anyone. Research shows that many individuals who have experienced a suicidal crisis indicate that it lasted for only a matter of minutes. Contrary to popular belief, if a person experiencing a suicidal crisis can’t access the method they planned to use, they generally do not seek out other lethal means to attempt suicide. 

Tips for Secure Storage

Suicidal crises can be brief, so securely storing your guns can be an effective barrier between the suicidal impulse and action. Making sure your guns are unloaded, locked, and secured when not in use can help prevent gun injuries. Ammunition should also be stored in a different location.

There are several effective ways to securely store your guns:

  • Cable Lock: This simple device is widely available and can be an effective barrier. You can request a gun lock from the Suicide Prevention Coordinator (SPC) at your local VA medical facility. Find a facility near you using the VA Resource Locator.
  • Lockbox or Gun Safe: This method can be used to conceal or protect guns . Make sure to lock the case with an external device for added security.  
  • Electronic Lockbox or Biometric Safe: Only the person with the code, fingerprint, or other biometric identifier can access the contents. Some are designed for quick access to stored guns, but can still serve as a barrier during a moment of crisis.
A graphic containing three different options for lethal means safety.

Safe Medication Storage

For many Veterans and their families, taking medication is a necessary part of leading a healthy life but, like guns, medications should be stored securely when not in use.

Tips for preventing intentional or unintentional overdose:

  • Keep medications secure and out of a child’s sight and reach
  • Have a family member or friend help manage your medication dosages
  • Portion pills out for the week, then lock the rest away
  • Secure any sedatives, stimulants, or opioid medications in a locked location
  • Proactively ask your doctor or pharmacist to limit your number of refills, quantity of medication, or request a blister pack
  • Dispose of any medication that is past its expiration date, has gone unused within the last 12 months, or is no longer needed

Visit the VA Center for Medication Safety for more information or ask your doctor or pharmacist about options for safely storing or disposing of medications. Medication lockboxes are available at any pharmacy. To learn more about how you can reduce the risk of a life-threatening opioid overdose, visit the Opioid Overdose Education & Naloxone Distribution site. 

Bay Pines VA now has envelopes that you can use to mail your unwanted medications to be disposed of in a manner that is safe for the environment. These envelopes are free and do not require postage. Remember to read the directions and never place syringes in the envelope or receptacle. The kit can be ordered by the Veteran’s provider for either pick up at the pharmacy window or to be mailed to the Veteran through our central mailing facility.

Bay Pines VA also has receptacles where you can deposit your unwanted medications. There are two MedSafe receptacles on the C.W.Y. campus. One is located at the outpatient entrance near eligibility/enrollment and the other is located just outside the ER entrance. If you accidentally place drugs in the receptacle, VA cannot retrieve them or return them to you. 

If you do not live near the C.W.Y. campus, you can visit the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) website to find a free medication disposable receptacle near you: Year-Round Drop-Off Locations - Search Utility (

Graphic that contains information for Mailing Unused Medication for Safe Disposal
Graphic About Dropping Off Medication for Safe Disposal