Wilimington VA launches KOVA in hopes of eliminating veteran suicides | New
WILMINGTON, Del. – As part of the Governor’s Challenge to End Veteran Suicide, the Wilmington Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the American Legion – Department of New Jersey are leading an effort to organize local veterans service organizations, agencies local, state and federal government, law enforcement, faith-based organizations and other New Jersey health care systems to develop strategies and programs to end veteran suicide in New Jersey – Keep Our Veterans Alive (KOVA) .
According to a statement, KOVA’s goal is to provide tools and coordinate resources to organizations to raise awareness, train and educate the community to fight veteran suicide and save lives.
Through this collaboration, KOVA worked with state leaders on the governor’s challenge to bring state-level cohesion and legislation to better combat veteran suicide.
“Implementing the Governor’s Challenge is an effective first step and a demonstration of New Jersey’s high-level support. The goal of the Governor’s Challenge is to eliminate veteran suicide using a comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention, ”said Bob Looby, president of the American Legion – Department of New Jersey. “The objectives of the challenge include re-engagement of the executive branch, public relations throughout state government, assignment of a proactive and knowledgeable liaison, and approval of all legislation relating to this and all veterans related topics.
According to VA veteran suicide data and mental health reports, there were 370 veteran suicides between 2014 and 2018 (2018 is the most recent data available). In 2018, the New Jersey veteran suicide rate was nearly seven points higher than the New Jersey non-veteran suicide rate (17.4 vs. 10.9 per 100,000).
“Veteran mental health and suicide prevention are top priorities at VA,” said Vince Kane, director of the Wilmington VA Medical Center (Wilmington VA provides health care services to New Jersey veterans in counties of l ‘Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem). “KOVA talks about the partnership and community engagement needed to promote the health and well-being of veterans and their families, which is why this effort with three Veterans Medical Centers that serve New Jersey (East Orange , Philadelphia and Wilmington), local veteran service organizations, as well as representatives from mental health agencies and the justice system, are so important.
As part of this effort, Veterans of Foreign Wars – Department of New Jersey is organizing county-by-county membership training and will work with other veterans service organizations and with local and public agencies to raise awareness and provide resources. This is a huge first step in an important mission to save the lives of those who fought to protect their homes and way of life, Kane and Looby said.
It will take everyone to come together to promote treatment, housing, jobs and other support services to prevent and end suicide among our country’s veterans.
It is these local partnerships that will enable Get Together & Get It (KOVA) Done. KOVA Champions include, in no particular order:
• American Legion – Department of New Jersey
• Department of Veterans Affairs – East Orange, Philadelphia and Wilmington
• Veterans of Foreign Wars – Department of New Jersey
• Disabled American Veterans
• Jewish veterans of the American Medical Center Wilmington VA 1601 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington, Delaware, www.wilmington.va.gov
• Marine Corps League – Department of New Jersey
• NJ Reentry Corporation
• New Jersey Veterans Network
• Southern New Jersey Community Veterans Engagement Council
• New Jersey State Patrol
• Catholic veterans
• Gloucester County District Attorney
If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran in Crisis, the Veterans Crisis Line is a free and confidential resource that Veterans, their families and friends can access every day at any time. Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online, at VeteransCrisisLine.net, or text 838255. Qualified responders – some of them veterans themselves – are ready to listen. , 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.