BPVAHCS Expands Suicide Prevention Team - Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
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Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

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BPVAHCS Expands Suicide Prevention Team

Suicide Prevention Team Members

Pictured in photo from left to right back row: Chris Snow – LCHC SPC; Stephanie Scotti – SPCM; Kelsey Tompkins – SPCF; Melissa Hall – SPC; David Burgess – SPCM; Eileen O’Connell – SPCM; Dr. Ronald Braasch, Assistant Chief MH&BSS. Front row: Nely Blackwell – LCHC SPCM; Rose Attardo – SPCM; Diane DaCosta – LCHC SPCM; Patricia Frederick – SPC.

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System's (BPVAHCS) Suicide Prevention Team (SPT) has recently expanded from four to 10 members. The team is comprised of three Suicide Prevention Care Coordinators and seven Suicide Prevention Care Managers who are focused on enhancing suicide prevention services for Veterans at risk.

The team expansion provided the ability for additional staff to focus on the VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention’s Recovery Engagement and Coordinator for Health Veteran’s Enhanced Treatment (REACH VET) program. REACH VET utilizes a statistical model to identify Veterans at a high risk for suicide, hospitalization, illness, or other negative outcomes. SPT members also intervene to provide stabilizing services and resources for Veterans when they are needed.

The SPT monitors approximately 100 REACH VET referrals each month, as well as some 240 to 250 Veterans assigned high risk flags. Cross collaboration between the SPT and BPVAHCS providers through Veteran Crisis Line (VCL) referrals and by conducting welfare checks utilizing VA police have led to approximately 400 saves or rescues so far this year!

Each month, the SPT receives and responds to nearly 100 VCL calls, works to ensure ongoing Veteran safety, assists with and during appointments, monitors Veteran’s medical records and treatment plans, and helps to coordinate Veteran’s mental health care needs.

The team expansion has also increased the BPVAHCS’s suicide prevention outreach and education efforts. This includes implementing the new suicide risk identification screening and comprehensive suicide risk evaluation processes which employ suicide awareness, prevention, and intervention strategies. Firearm safety and education, free gun locks, and other lifesaving materials are also made available to Veterans and staff through these efforts.    

SPT members are available to all Veterans and staff who request consultation or assistance, who need assistance with completing necessary documentation and screens, or who may have any general questions or are in need of support.

To contact a SPT member, please call 727-398-6661 extension 17226 or email VHABAYMHSuicidePrevention@va.gov.  

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