On August 14, 2020, Dixon Center for Military & Veterans Services launched the first episode of Service Before Self, a podcast that tackles the evolving needs of veterans and their families, based on the idea that veterans can succeed in the community where they live. This podcast will introduce you to people and the programs that are having an impact today; you will hear about their successes and lessons learned in creating effective programs in which veterans and their families reach their full potential.
Dixon Center is diving deeply into the needs and challenges veterans and their families go through, as well as into the effective solutions to those challenges.
In this episode, Retired Army Colonel Sam Whitehurst, your host, the Dixon Center Vice President, is joined by Dr. Caitlin Thompson, Vice-President for Community Partnerships at the Cohen Veterans Network (CVN), a network of health care clinics across the U.S. focused on providing mental health assistance to veterans and their families. Dr. Thompson shares the mission and vision of Cohen Veterans Network, the work they are doing in response to the pandemic, and she also talks about her thoughts regarding what we can do to ensure that our veterans and families continue to have access to mental health services to prevent the rise of suicide rates among our veterans.
Many veterans have experienced the crushing pain of isolation due to their exposure to war trauma. In many cases, returning veterans have difficulty reconnecting with community and family members. This inability to reintegrate to the environment the veteran left to serve, can create negative behaviors and outcomes. But these outcomes are not preordained, through outreach and connecting with programs like CVN, veterans and their families can overcome the damaging effects of isolation and truly succeed in the communities where they live.
This is the approach of Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services' Operation Suicide Elimination. Working nationally and locally, we deliver outreach via direct service providers to treat veterans and their families with mental health services, as well as numerous non-traditional modalities to combat severe forms of isolation. With just under 20 veterans continuing to die from suicide every day and the number of suicides projected to increase due to the pandemic; this remains an extremely urgent issue.
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