Mental Health Association of Nassau County & Veterans Health Alliance of Long Island Focus on Veteran Suicide Prevention

Suicide awareness, a topic worthy of highlight, continued education, DE stigmatization and community investment.   A few staggering statistics include the following: according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.  Each year 44,193 Americans die by suicide (approx. 121 a day), for every completed suicide- 25 attempt.  Unfortunately, every 12 minutes a person attempts to end their lives.  While this number is a bit controversial, it is reported that veteran suicide lie somewhere between 20-22 a day, accounting for about 17% of the 121 a day I referred to previously.  Furthermore, it may be of value to note that compared with similar individuals in the general population, veterans are 8 times more likely to have PTSD and 2-4 times more likely to suffer from major depression.  With that said, there’s no disputing the need to shed light on the topic.

Having this knowledge and walking through the day with the realization that 5% of the general population have thoughts of suicide prompts a fire and desire for advocacy and continued awareness.  As part of the team here at the Veterans Health Alliance of Long Island we’ve very fortunately had the opportunity through an education and training grant from the Long Island Community Foundation to craft and host various trainings focusing on this very topic.  Recently we’ve reached out and opened our doors to the veteran community, our colleagues, veteran family members, friends and local service providers who have a vested interest in supporting our Long Island veterans by way of mental health.  Here at VHALI we offered a suicide prevention training -ASIST (Applied Suicide Skills Training).  This, a 14 hour, 2 day intensive, interactive and practice dominated course is designed to help individuals recognize risk and learn how to intervene to prevent the immediate risk of suicide.  Provided the opportunity to sit in on the training I can openly and honestly say that a space inside of me has been etched for the compassionate understanding, non-judgment of, and sincere ability to support an individual through what may seem to be a hopeless time in their lives. I’ve walked away with way more than a certificate and remain confident in my ability to have a conversation in a manner that supports hope and a path to wellness with an individual in crisis.  Our hopes here at VHALI are to maintain the ripple in more ways than one!

We plan to continue to welcome experts in the field who can shed light on the topic of suicide and provide us with the wherewith all to support and guide those in need.  In addition, this fall we will be offering a more basic understanding of supporting individuals through a Mental Health First Aid Course.  Always feel free to give us call here at VHALI, our doors as well as our hearts and minds are always open!

Veterans Crisis Line 1800-273-8255 Press 1   or text 838288 – Confidential Chat

Rhea Spina, Project Coordinator, Veterans Health Alliance of Long Island 516-489-2322 X1260


Sailor Spotlight! Angela T. Careccia, from Orange County, California

Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Angela T. Careccia, from Orange County, Calif., with USS Constitution, conducts a knot tying demonstration during a Navy Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fair at Camp William Hinds, of the Pine Tree Council Cub and Scouts, as part of Portland, Maine’s Navy Week.
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Retired Chief Petty Officer Runs 200 Marathons and 600 Half Marathons in Honor of Fallen Heroes

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Sid Busch attended George W. Wingate High School and then moved onto do two years of college at the Mannes College of Music.

It wasn’t until Feburary of 1965 where Sid decided to go to Sonar School in San Diego and join the U.S. Navy.

After graduation, Sid was put to the test with this first submarine, the USS BAYA AGSS 318. Feeling as if he needed more training, he went back to Sonar School in 1968 for more advanced training in Key West, Florida.

With all of the training, he served on two diesel subs, two nuclear fast attacks, and a whopping seven Ballistic Missile Subs. His impressive service landed him as a Senior Petty Officer in Charleston, South Caroline where he decided to retire in May of 1991.

Since his retirement, Sid has kept himself busy. He has run over 200 marathons and 600 half marathons in honor of the young men and women who have given their lives in the service to protect our freedom and country. The 2017 TCS New York City Marathon will be his 13th New York City Marathon, and it will also be his last New York Marathon.

Sid’s passion for out heroes goes beyond the call of duty. After each race, he presents his finisher medals to the family as a way of showing them that their loss has not gone unnoticed. He has also met with many families at Arlington, where he has been given the privilege of placing the medal he won for each race on the headstone of the fallen hero. Sid’s passion does not stop there though, for each race he also carries an American flag and wears a picture of the young hero so other runners and people watching the race will know who gave their life for a free country.

The work Sid does is not for the fame, in fact, he said he would rather people just knew him as that guy who ran in honor of Soldier X and not as Sid Busch the man who runs for fallen soldiers. However, he does recognize that it is through his fame that these fallen soldiers’ stories and names are still being shared and known, and that is most important part to him.


Chef Robert Irvine Hosts SAMHSA’s Voice Awards Honoring Military

The Los Angeles event honored service men and women who have overcome mental illnesses and addictions. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2017 Voice Awards program recognized television and film writers and producers along with community leaders for outstanding efforts to raise awareness and understanding of mental illnesses and/or addictions.
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5 Crucial Things that Separate a Veteran-Owned Small Business from the Conglomerates

According to the Small Business Administration, there are around 3.7 million veteran-owned businesses in the country, averaging yearly receipts of around $450,000. Compared with the billions that many of the conglomerates earn each year in the pet food industry, it makes many people wonder how a small veteran-owned pet food company can survive.

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