Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that his office has joined with the VA Hudson Valley Healthcare System to form a Orange County Veterans Suicide Prevention Coalition.
Suicide numbers in Orange County are alarming high. Nationwide, about seventeen veterans succumb to suicide every day. Veteran suicide rates are fifty percent higher than non-veteran suicide rates.
The VA Hudson Valley Healthcare Systems efforts in this new coalition are being led by Carl LoFaro, who is the Community Engagement and Partnership Coordinator with the VA working out of the Castle Point and Montrose facilities.
Police departments, veterans groups and sports men and women
LoFaro, a veteran himself, has done similar work in Colorado. He and Hoovler have met to discuss the plans and goals for the coalition. The coalition has also met with several law enforcement agencies in Orange County, including the New York State Police, the Department of Environmental Conservation Police, the City of Middletown Police Department and the Village of Washingtonville Police Department, among others. All have expressed a desire to help in spreading the anti-suicide message to our Orange County communities.
Some veteran groups have also been contacted and, as expected, want to help get the suicide prevention message out in the community.
Knowing that many outdoors people are also veterans, coalition members also have reached out to the Black Rock Fish and Game Club of Cornwall and the Orange County Federation of Sportsmen and spoke to members of these groups on three different occasions about preventing veteran suicide, as well as discussing the opioid crisis with their respective members.
The coalition has also started to post Veterans Crisis Line posters at local businesses, town halls and establishments across the county. These posters make people aware of how to contact crisis resources in an emergency to obtain help in preventing suicides at any hour of the day or night.
The Orange County Veterans Suicide Prevention Coalition will speak about suicide prevention and the opioid crisis to any organization that requests a meeting, since our goal is to educate the community on these subjects in an effort to prevent as many suicides and overdoses as possible. To schedule a meeting for your organization, or if you would like a Veterans Crisis Line poster or other resources to place at your business or establishment, contact Carl LoFaro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The coalition is also interested in having more partners join who are serious about helping to prevent veteran suicides and overdoses. If your organization is interested in helping, contact the District Attorney’s Office or Mr. Carl LoFaro at the VA Hudson Valley.
The Coalition is planning a kickoff meeting in Goshen in January, 2022, at a place and time to be determined.