The Canandaigua and Bath VA Medical Centers offer Veterans who have been identified as a high risk for suicide a unique approach to managing their risk and helping to prevent future episodes of suicidality.

The Canandaigua and Bath VA Medical Centers are using a unique approach in preventing suicide among Veterans. Veterans, who have been identified as being at higher risk for suicide, having on-going suicidal thoughts, or having had a prior suicide attempt are invited to join a therapy group with peer veterans who have had a similar experience.

Veterans are welcome to join a weekly one-hour group therapy meeting that allows them to openly discuss their difficulties with other Veterans who have had a similar experience. Together, they share coping tools to use to help avoid a future suicide attempt. The groups are managed by a clinical psychologist and/or a licensed clinical social worker.

This collaborative approach to group therapy to help prevent Veteran suicides was started in Canandaigua in 2014 and was so effective that last year the Bath VA started their own collaborative group therapy for Veterans with suicidal ideations.

Veterans in the community who may be at risk for suicide can call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 to be connected with a Veterans crisis responder. Veterans living in the Greater Rochester area who are interested in the group can call Kelly Mohrman, LCSW: 585-463- 2600 x 32570 and Veterans living in the Southern Tier can call Jennifer Haggerty, LCSW: 607-664- 4366.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is making a concerted effort to raise awareness and provide tools about suicide prevention to the community and especially to the families, friends and stakeholders of Veterans. The goal of the awareness campaign is to provide resources to the community, including health care professionals, in identifying Veterans who are at risk and the simple acts they can do to help prevent suicide.

For information on resources available for Veterans, families, friends, and communities, visit https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/resources.asp.