Suicide Prevention Help is Available for Colorado Veterans
The national suicide rate among military veterans is consistently — and substantially — higher than the rate for nonveterans, and Colorado’s veteran suicide rate often exceeds that of other states. Citing these numbers, the director of the VA Rocky Mountain Network, Sunaina Kumar-Giebel, and the executive director of the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System, Michael Kilmer, remind veterans and those who care for them that help is available 24/7 for any veteran in crisis as well as for family members who seek support. In 2023 the VA instituted the Comprehensive Prevention, Access to Care, and Treatment Act (COMPACT), which enables any eligible veteran experiencing an acute suicidal crisis to go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for emergency care at no cost. To help stem the tide in suicides, Kumar-Giebel and Kilmer also encourage anyone to reach out to veterans, listen to their stories, learn how to spot warning signs, and find out where available resources are located. There is also a Veterans Crisis Line, a free confidential resource, that can be reached by dialing 988 and selecting option 1. To learn more about COMPACT, visit https://www.va.gov/communitycare/programs/veterans/emergency_care.asp. To locate your nearest VA medical center, visit https://www.va.gov/find-locations.