JANE LEW, W.Va. – The Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center hosted a suicide prevention forum Sunday, creating community engagement partnerships.  

The forum was held at the Broad Run Baptist Church in Jane Lew presenting on U.S. Military along with veteran culture and suicide prevention among those who served in the armed forces. VA officials said to prevent suicide the community members can learn what the signs and symptoms are through their forum. 

“So, one of the things that everyone in the world can do is to learn to say, ‘hey are you thinking about hurting or killing yourself, and if you are what can I do to help you,’ so we need to know how to ask that question comfortably,” said Michele Rivard, community engagement and partnership coordinator at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center.

VA officials said it’s important to sit and listen to someone who might be thinking of harming themselves, to validate them, hear what they are saying and to take them seriously. They said to call somebody and let them know what is going on.  

“It is when people are in a crisis in their life particularly that they become suicidal,” Rivard said. “Drugs and alcohol are another thing. If someone is using substances their impulse control goes down which means they are more likely to do something they would not otherwise do. So, a lot of times drugs and alcohol are a factor in suicide, not all the time, but sometimes they are because people’s inhibitions are lower and they act on things that they otherwise wouldn’t do.” 

If you or someone you know is thinking about hurting themselves or committing suicide, call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.