The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs announced a town hall on suicide prevention and mental health on September 1. 28 in Huntville.
The event is part of an initiative called the Alabama Challenge for Suicide Prevention in Military, Veterans and Their Families, which aims to overcome the stigma associated with mental illness. The campaign was launched last year.
The event begins at 2 p.m. at the Jaycee Community Building.
Last year, 143 veterans in Alabama died by suicide, the ADVA said. The rate in Alabama is above the national average for veterans and significantly above the national average for civilians, according to the ADVA.
Guests at City Hall will include the Garrison Commander of Redstone Arsenal, Colonel. Brian Cozine. Alabama’s Challenge co-chairs, retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paulette Risher and retired US Navy Rear Adm. Kent Davis, will provide an overview of the statewide initiative. Davis is commissioner of ADVA.
A panel of community, state, and federal representatives will discuss their services and answer questions.
“We are thrilled that the City of Huntsville, Redstone Arsenal and the veteran community are joining the Alabama Partner Challenge to host this important discussion and event,” Davis said in a press release.
“Huntsville has such a rich military history and one of the largest veteran populations in the state. Suicide prevention is never an easy topic, but through unity we can work to overcome its challenges.
Veterans attending the Resource Fair will have the opportunity to meet with ADVA representatives and apply for VA benefits, file VA compensation and pension claims, and access health services.
The Alabama challenge aims to raise awareness about suicide prevention and promote understanding of the cause and circumstances that lead to mental health issues in general. Town halls are planned for other cities in the state.
Learn more about Alabama’s Challenge and Veteran Wellness Resources.
Related: 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline: What It Is and How It Can Save Lives
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