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It takes a village to end Veteran suicide.

people in a room listening to a speaker

Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks and Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System hosted a Faith-Based Outreach event for faith-based community members to combat Veteran suicide. Secretary Denis McDonough personally came to endorse the mission and vision of the event.

“It takes groups working together to save lives and change the narrative that says a veteran who seeks help is a victim, broken or weak,” said Denis McDonough.  “There is an enormous power of reaching out.  That is why VA is reaching out to faith-based community members to work together to end suicide.”

The all-day suicide training held at the Global Campus Professional and Workforce Development facility inside the Collaborative on Fifth Street in Bentonville accommodated both in person and virtual attendees.  Presentations from VA experts included suicide awareness training, VA mental health care and VA substance abuse and addiction treatment programs.  Other trainings included Moral Suicide, Intimate Partner Violence, and handling crisis situations.  

“After participating in this training, I feel like I have more confidence when talking to Veterans in crisis,” said Beau Gage, President of Blind Faith Outdoors.  “This training gave me a better understanding of Veteran culture.”  Gage runs a nonprofit ministry that focuses on bridging church with outdoors.  First responders and Veterans are the primary groups that attend.  Blind Faith Outdoors’ goal is to connect nature and God by providing a relaxing environment so people can unwind and fellowship.   

This event occurred during Suicide Prevention Month, however, everyday suicide prevention among Veterans is VA’s top clinical priority.  “We need our community leaders, faith-based leaders, our veteran service organizers, and our neighbors and caregivers to engage with us so we can stop suicide from occurring,” said VHSO Medical Center Director Dr. Velez DHA, MBA, FACHE.  “Suicide prevention is every day of the year.  It is 24 hours a day 7 days a week.”  Veterans can call 988 Press 1 or text 838255, 24 hours a day seven days a week to be connected to trained crisis counselors.  To learn more about VA mental health services visit

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