Federal funding supports veteran mental health & suicide prevention
Congressman Brian Higgins announced the Veterans One-stop Center was awarded $750,000 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to support initiatives preventing suicide and addressing mental wellness in veteran populations.
“The U.S. military commits to ‘leave no one behind’ on the battlefield, and we must make that same commitment to our veterans when they come home. This grant honors that commitment,” Higgins said. “This award expands opportunities for the Veteran One-stop Center to serve and support veterans across the region.”
The award is provided through the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant program, which supports community-based suicide prevention efforts supporting veterans and their families. The Veterans One-stop Center is one of just 80 organizations sharing a total of $52.5 million in federal funding awarded nationwide.
The Veterans One-stop Center will use the grant for a variety of services ranging from mental health screening and peer support programs to recreational opportunities and linkages to benefit assistance. The site supports veterans through the SSG Fox SPGP and other vital programs living in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben, Wyoming and Yates counties.
Veterans One-stop Center President and CEO Adam Howard said, “The SSG Fox Suicide Prevention Grant program is a vital program we are proud to administer in 12 counties in Western New York and beyond. If you, or a veteran or military family member that you know, is experiencing difficulties, trauma-related symptoms, or needs emotional or mental health support, we’re here to help.”
Higgins’ team said, “According to the 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, which analyzes data between 2001 and 2020, there were 6,146 veteran suicide deaths in 2020, a decrease of 343 when compared to 2019, but still far too many veterans lost.”
Additional national efforts are working to reduce the rate of veteran suicide. A “Don’t Wait. Reach Out” public message campaign encourages veterans to seek help online through www.VA.gov/REACH. The new suicide crisis line also provides support specific to veterans when callers dial 9-8-8 and press 1.
For more information on the Veterans One-stop Center, visit www.vocwny.org or call 716-898-0110.