A bill to establish a veteran suicide prevention pilot program passed unanimously through committee in the Colorado State Senate, laying the groundwork to further empower local organizations that serve veteran communities.
Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, a Marine Corps veteran, introduced the bill in late February as one way to address veteran suicide and suicidal ideation. It calls for the Colorado Department of Human Services to establish a five-year pilot program in El Paso County, the home of the Air Force Academy and the region in the state with the highest population of veterans. The program would partner with local nonprofits to offer “no-cost, stigma-free, confidential and effective” behavioral health care for veterans and their families.
The pilot program would create individualized treatment plans for conditions that can contribute to suicidal ideation, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, military sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, and substance abuse. Identifying and treating those contributing factors is key.The pilot program would be a bottom-up approach that lifts up organizations that are already doing “tremendous” work in the community.
Read more at ThePuebloChieftain.com.