North Carolina’s Carteret County was selected as one of four sites for piloting the Together With Veterans (TWV) program whose aim is to reduce the number of Veteran suicides. A key strategy is creating a unified coalition, and to this end, two partnerships are being forged. One is to assess the community’s strengths, resources, and needs regarding Veteran supports
Developed by the Rocky Mountain MIRECC, Together With Veterans (TWV), a rural Veteran suicide prevention program, the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) Mental Health Program has been contracted to implement it in the four communities. In Carteret County, the Durham VA Medical Center (Greenville VA HCC/Morehead City CBOC) has been engaged and is supportive of all stakeholders, including the MIRECC, WICHE, and local stakeholders at the county level—public health, behavioral health and Veteran organizations.
The TWV program has 5 key components:
- Engage Veteran Community
- Assess Community Capacity to Serve Veterans
- Develop Community Action Plan
- Support Implementation of the Action Plan
- Program Evaluation
To date, a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and Community Readiness Survey have been completed. All community organizations involved in TWV participated in S.A.V.E. (suicide prevention) training. In addition, WICHE hosted a TWV Summit for participating teams in Boulder, CO on February 19 and 20. A team of Veteran, civilian, and VA stakeholders attended. During the Summit, information was gathered to help with next steps. These include identifying board members, contacting community supporters and/organizations, preparing resource guides for the community, and advertisement. Stay tuned to more news from the Together with Veterans initiative in eastern North Carolina (https://www.mirecc.va.gov/docs/visn6/newsletter_vol15-1-bw.pdf).