Today Second Lady Karen Pence participated in a roundtable discussion on veteran suicide prevention efforts underway in Arizona. The participants of the roundtable included Thomas Winkel and Wanda Wright, the Directors of the Arizona Coalition for Military Families (ACMF) and Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services (ADVS), government, non-profit, and private sector leaders.
Mrs. Pence delivered opening remarks about her role as the Lead Ambassador for PREVENTS and the importance of now more than ever being the time to address veteran suicide. She also applauded the leadership of ACMF and ADVS and their work to create a comprehensive approach and solutions to help prevent suicide among veterans. Mrs. Pence also heard personal testimonials from veterans who had struggled with suicidal thoughts and mental health issues and benefited from the services available in Arizona.
The participants of the roundtable have collectively spearheaded Be Connected, a community initiative approach to bring together leaders from across Arizona to help address veteran suicide using an upstream prevention approach. Their programming efforts have influenced organizations such as PREVENTS to create comprehensive and integrative approaches to helping veterans with suicidal thoughts and feelings.
“Suicide is preventable and veterans who have served and sacrificed their lives for the defense of our Nation deserve our attention and care,” said Second Lady Karen Pence. “I am honored to be here today to learn more about the important work being done in Arizona to better support and reach out to our Veterans.”
On March 5, 2019, President Trump signed Executive Order 13861, establishing a three-year effort known as the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS). PREVENTS recently launched their national health campaign called REACH, which aims to empower all Americans to play a role in preventing suicide. As the Lead Ambassador for PREVENTS, Mrs. Pence has traveled across the country meeting with veterans, researchers, and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) leaders to elevate the issue of suicide prevention for veterans and all Americans.