A Vietnam Veteran makes a call for help. He is frustrated, angry, confused, depressed. He doesn’t understand how the Department of Veterans Affairs has rated his PTSD claim. He should be receiving more disability, more care.
Through the phone, his behavior becomes increasingly erratic. He threatens suicide, repeatedly. His family can be clearly heard, distraught in the background.
This veteran in crises did the right thing; he made the call for help and he called the right place. The American Legion, Department of Indiana Assistant Director of Rehabilitation Dave Wilson received this call Nov. 30, 2015.
“The veteran was advocating for suicide while on the phone with me, not once, but several times,” said The American Legion, Department of Indiana Service Officer Assistant Director Dave Wilson, still visibly touched months later when recalling the situation. “The veteran was already service connected for PTSD. You could just really sense that he was serious in carrying out this act.”
The entire Department Service Office sprang into action, communicating with their counterparts down the hall at the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs. Together, they coordinated with social workers, a VA psychiatric unit and the veteran’s local police department. Mental health personnel and police officers were immediately dispatched. They were able to get through to the veteran, remove him from the situation and get him help on his own will.
“Unfortunately, what happened with this veteran on Nov. 30, obviously is not an isolated incident, but I think it’s a perfect example of how the VA and The American Legion work together here at the Indianapolis Regional Office,” said Veterans Affairs Regional Office Director Mike Stephens. ”Often times, in fact daily, we are called upon to work together to make sure that we are covering our veterans and their families.
The American Legion, Department of Indiana Assistant Director of Rehabilitation Dave Wilson presents Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office staff member Samantha Price with an American Legion Certificate of Appreciation for her role in effectively saving a veteran-in-crises’ life at the Federal Building, Downtown, Indianapolis, Monday, April 25. (Photo by John Crosby, Department of Indiana, Communications Director)
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