NEWS CLIP_Suicide prevention program at VA - Butler VA Health Care System
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Butler VA Health Care System

 

NEWS CLIP_Suicide prevention program at VA

September 23, 2010

ELLWOOD CITY LEDGER-- September 23, 2010

ELLWOOD CITY - The Ellwood City Hospital Behavioral Health Unit is presenting a Lunch and Learn program on suicide prevention on Oct. 1.

Pete Albert, suicide prevention coordinator at VA Butler Healthcare, will present the program, "Suicide Prevention is Everyone's Business."

"This is a program much like learning CPR, so you can help someone," Albert said. "We sometimes call it the gatekeeper program because it enables average people to identify people who need help. We all have people in our everyday lives, people we come into contact with that may need help. This is how-to information."

The 45-minute presentation, which is free and open to the public, will highlight what questions to ask, how to ask, how to listen, and information about how to get treatment.

Albert uses the acronym SAVE to explain what the program is about. S is for signs of suicidal thinking; A is asking questions; V is validation, listening to what is said; and E is encouraging treatment.

"After I talk about the signs that a person is thinking about suicide, I will talk about the right way to ask questions," he said. "The person who is thinking of suicide is frightened of their own thoughts, so we need to know how to ask questions that will be helpful and not turn off the opportunity to talk."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 30,000 to 32,000 suicides a year in the United States, with 20 percent being veterans. In the United States, more people die from suicide than from homicide, making suicide an important national problem.

Albert, 49, a longtime resident of Butler, joined the staff of VA Butler Healthcare in August 2007 in the newly formed position of suicide prevention coordinator. A psychiatric nurse for 25 years, Albert is a 1993 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh; he has a master's degree with a focus on psych-mental health nursing.