NW PA Counties graphicThe Northwest Pennsylvania (NW PA) Veteran Suicide Prevention Program operates on a three-pronged approach involving healthcare providers, community organizations, and Veterans and their families in the 15 counties of NW PA. While Uniformed Services University Center for Deployment Psychology is not a partner for this Program, their information, services, and policies work in tandem with with our stakeholders to support resiliency best-practices and Veteran suicide reduction.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions or would like to know more about our work in NW PA communities.

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Let’s Talk About Your Guns Podcast

USU trainingBethesda, Md. – How can we have open-minded talks about guns and safety? A new podcast, launched this week by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS), hopes to address this question. Through a series of interviews and stories, the podcast, “Let’s Talk About Your Guns,” will offer practical and non-judgmental ways to talk about safe storage of firearms in tough situations.

The podcast, featuring eight episodes, will be available on CSTS’s website as well as YouTube, Apple podcast, Spotify, and Stitcher. Each episode will focus on various aspects of gun safety. About 40 percent of Americans have a gun at home, and this series is designed to unpack real-life scenarios such as guns and suicide, dementia, children, and health care workers.

CSTS_Podcast_Logo_Talk_About_Guns_1000x1000“This podcast is not about whether you are for or against keeping guns in your home. It is about saving lives. Our goal is to motivate and empower people to have honest conversations about guns and safety with people they care about,” said Dr. James West, a CSTS scientist who led the new podcast’s creation. The first episode focuses on dementia, and how to navigate aging, gun ownership, and safety with expert advice from emergency room physician and firearm safety researcher Dr. Emmy Betz from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. This episode will provide practical advice for having tough conversations with loved ones, and ideas on how to plan ahead. The second episode will discuss gun safety in times of crisis, and what to say to a loved one when you’re worried about their access to guns, and features Dr. Mike Anestis, a suicide and gun safety expert and executive director of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers University, who will discuss alternative storage plans in times of crisis.

“Prevention starts with having a conversation about how to put barriers and time between a suicidal impulse and a fatal act,” said West, who is also an associate professor of Psychiatry at USU. To learn more about the podcast and the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, visit https://www.cstsonline.org/suicide-prevention-program/podcasts.

About the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences: The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, founded by an act of Congress in 1972, is the nation’s federal health sciences university and the academic heart of the Military Health System. USU students are primarily active-duty uniformed officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service who receive specialized education in tropical and infectious diseases, TBI and PTSD, disaster response and humanitarian assistance, global health, and acute trauma care. USU also has graduate programs in oral biology, biomedical sciences and public health committed to excellence in research. The University’s research program covers a wide range of areas important to both the military and public health. For more information about USU and its programs, visit www.usuhs.edu.

Looking to Get Involved?

Whether you identify as a healthcare provider, community organization, or Veteran, there are several opportunities through the NW PA Veteran Suicide Prevention Program and PERU to connect to resources, participate in educational training, and promote harm reduction strategies. We are actively recruiting healthcare and community partners to work with us in meeting our goals and objectives. To learn more, visit the program website at theresilientveteran.org.

Need Help? Know Someone Who Does? Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat. Both are free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area.

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