Highland Rivers Behavioral Health expands veteran suicide prevention program to Cobb County

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Highland Rivers Behavioral Health announced that it is enhancing the services to veterans made possible by the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program (SSG Fox SPGP). The program, administered by the VA, makes grants of up to $750,000 for organizations to implement suicide prevention programs for veterans.

The enhancements planned by Highland Rivers include adding Cobb County to the areas served by the organization’s grant funds.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website includes the following information about the grants:

The Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program (SSG Fox SPGP) enables VA to provide resources toward community-based suicide prevention efforts to meet the needs of Veterans and their families through outreach, suicide prevention services, and connection to VA and community resources. In alignment with VA’s National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide (2018), this grant program assists in further implementing a public health approach that blends community-based prevention with evidence-based clinical strategies through community efforts. The grant program is part of the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019, signed into law on October 17, 2020. Click the Hannon Act Fact Sheet to learn more.

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According to the news release announcing the expansion of scope:

Highland Rivers received the SSG Fox SPGP grant in September 2022, with services focused on veterans in Cherokee and Pickens counties. Because Highland Rivers was funded during the very first round of the SSG Fox SPGP grant program, the agency has worked closely with the VA as it seeks to standardize and enhance deliverables across all program grant recipients in order to best meet the needs of veterans, family members and communities. As part of its commitment to serving veterans, Highland Rivers is expanding the program into Cobb County during the second grant year, which began October 1, 2023.

“Highland Rivers has always prioritized serving veterans – regardless of discharge status or ability to pay – and we remain steadfast in that commitment,” said Highland Rivers Behavioral Health CEO Melanie Dallas. “As we move forward with this important grant, we will have a stronger focus on education and outreach to our communities while continuing to provide clinical suicide screening, and peer and case management supports for eligible veterans through our Veterans Engagement Team.”

The VA, which administers the program, listed these goals: 

  • Outreach to identify those at risk of suicide
  • Baseline mental health screening for risk (required for participants ages 18+)
  • Education on suicide risk and prevention to families and communities
  • Provision of clinical services for emergency treatment
  • Case management services
  • Peer support services
  • VA benefits assistance for eligible individuals and their families
  • Assistance with obtaining and coordinating other benefits provided by the federal, state or local governments
  • Assistance with emergent needs related to health care, daily living, personal financial planning, transportation, temporary income support, legal services, childcare and more that may contribute to the risk of suicide
  • Other services necessary for improving individual mental health and well-being, and reducing suicide risk 

According to the news release:

The SSG Fox SPGP honors Parker Gordon Fox, who joined the Army in 2014 and was a sniper instructor at the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Moore (formerly Fort Benning), Georgia. Known for a life of generosity and kindness to others in need, Fox died by suicide on July 21, 2020, at the age of 25.

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