When a gun is locked, that gives a veteran time to stop and think twice about what he’s doing.
The Suicide Prevention office has brochures detailing safe storage and safety tips. Mental health workers already give out gun locks to veterans.
Ellis noted that friends and family members also need to get involved. People should “facilitate and advocate on behalf of a loved one, and get them into an appropriate environment for assessment.
“We want to educate people to take action on that gut feeling. It’s that access to care that’s so powerful.”
Either make that call for the veteran or walk him or her into a clinic, she said.
After having been in the mental health field for more than 20 years, Ellis said, “It’s been a wonderful opportunity to be part of a program that started in the VA and has great national direction. It’s been a challenge … it’s been a good challenge.”
She added, “I think we’ve come a long way.”
The VA offers a network of support for veterans and their families and friends:
--Call the free and confidential crisis line at (800) 273-8255, and press 1.
-- Go to www.VeteransCrisisLine.net to access the confidential, anonymous online chat with a responder.
--Text to 838255.