Veteran Suicide Statistics Indicate Collective Effort Is Critical

on Wednesday, 17 July 2019.


VA Suicide Prevention Efforts
2019 Reporting

Suicide prevention is VA’s top clinical priority, and VA has adopted a public health approach to suicide prevention.

The goal of VA’s suicide prevention efforts is not to get every Veteran enrolled in VA care, but
rather to equip communities to help Veterans get the right care, whenever and wherever they
need it.

This means using prevention approaches that cut across all sectors in which Veterans may
interact, and collaborating with Veterans service organizations, state and local leaders, medical
professionals, criminal justice officials, private employers and many other stakeholders.
Put simply, VA must ensure suicide prevention is a part of every aspect of Veterans’ lives, not
just their interactions with VA.

Reaching Veterans Where They Live, Work, and Thrive

VA’s suicide prevention efforts are guided by the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran
Suicide, a long-term plan published in 2018 that provides a framework for identifying priorities,
organizing efforts, and focusing national attention and community resources to prevent suicide
among Veterans while adopting a broad public health approach with an emphasis on
comprehensive, community-based engagement.

VA Mission Act Update

on Thursday, 11 April 2019.

IMAGE: MISSION Act graphic

The new eligibility criteria will be a major improvement over existing criteria in terms of making things simpler: currently, eligibility criteria vary between VA’s community care programs. When the new criteria go into effect, Veterans can expect better access and greater choice in their health care, whether at VA or through a community provider.

The eligibility criteria are projected to go into effect in June 2019 after final regulations are published and effective, so the criteria are not yet final. In addition, key aspects of community care eligibility include the following:

  • Veterans must receive approval from VA prior to obtaining care from a community provider in most circumstances.
  • Veterans must either be enrolled in VA health care or be eligible for VA care without needing to enroll to be eligible for community care.
  • Eligibility for community care will continue to be dependent upon a Veteran’s individual health care needs or circumstances.
  • VA staff members generally make all eligibility determinations.
  • Veterans will usually have the option to receive care at a VA medical facility regardless of their eligibility for community care.
  • Meeting any one of six eligibility criteria listed below is sufficient to be referred to a community provider—a Veteran does not have to meet all of them to be eligible. (Real-world examples of when a Veteran would be eligible for community care are included in the eligibility fact sheet linked at the end of the article).

Trusts, Estates and Wills Lawyer To Serve Clients In Need

on Wednesday, 29 May 2019. Posted in News

If you are a Veteran who needs a will and powers of attorney for healthcare and property, LCVFSF would like to introduce you to Attorney Sandie Moon. Working through the foundation, Sandie offers estate planning services at much-reduced rates to Veterans and heir loved ones.

A former teacher, Sandie is demystifies the language of estate planning and helping people prepare for the inevitable transition that death brings to individuals and families.

The life-long resident of Lake County brings the communication skills of a teacher to the practice of law. “I was an elementary and middle-school teacher for many years before deciding I wanted to stretch my horizons,” she said. In her mid-thirties, she began paralegal studies and went to work for a Waukegan law firm as a bookkeeper and secretary.

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A New Way to Help Veterans: Donate Your Vehicle

on Wednesday, 05 December 2018.

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Supporters of LCVFSF have been generous with donations of time and money. Now there’s another way. If you own a car, motorcycle, ATV or other motorized vehicle, you can donate it to our Foundation. We get the funds. You get whatever tax deduction your donation earns.  In partnership with Auto Parts City of Gurnee, we are happy to offer a new and easy way to make a donation to LCVFSF to help the Veterans of Lake, McHenry and Southern Kenosha counties.

Who Is This Veteran? Senior Chief Abbey Lehtinen Tells Her Story

on Saturday, 29 June 2019.

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According to the U.S. Veteran’s Administration, a little less than 10 percent of the U.S. population are military veterans. Of those, around 90 percent are males and 10 percent are females. About 30 percent of veterans are minorities.

Veterans live among us, all over the nation. Although I live in an area near a major military installation, I am still amazed at the number of veterans I meet in the community, many of whom we would never know have worn the cloth of our nation.

To me, a veteran is someone who has been willing to sacrifice their life, to serve a greater purpose; to protect the American way of life, our values and our future. Many veterans I meet have taken this deep commitment to service with them, even after they leave the military. Many veterans serve voluntarily in their communities, to help those in need. This service seems to be deeply engrained in their moral compass.

I joined the Navy in 1998, not only to serve my country, but also to carry on a tradition in my family. My father, and several of his brothers, served in the military during conflicts in Vietnam and Korea. He and one brother volunteered for the Army, during Vietnam, and two of my uncles served in the Marine Corps and Air Force during Korea. I never met my oldest uncle George, an Air Force veteran, whose plane was lost at sea off the coast of Korea. His remains were never recovered.

After the Marines and Lioness, Ashton Kroner’s Service Continues

on Wednesday, 29 May 2019.

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Marine Lioness Ashton Kroner in Afghanistan

Not many women can list “Marine” on their resumes. Even fewer can list “Lioness”, a title reserved for women who have served in combat roles. Ashton Kroner is proud to list them both. Currently serving as Outreach Coordinator for Road Home, a program of The Center for Veterans and Their Families in Chicago, Ashton is one of many Veterans who continue to serve their country and community once the active duty uniform comes off.

Ashton knew in high school that she wanted to join the Marines, so she went to Boot Camp at age 18, completing Basic Training at Paris Island, SC. She learned quickly to follow orders, including the Drill Instructors’ absolute rule of never referring yourself as “I’, “me”, and “mine”. “Like everyone else, I referred to myself as ‘this recruit’,” Ashton said. “Right away you learn that it’s about ‘us’, not ‘me’. Otherwise, there’s hell to pay.”

Coming September 7, 2019

on Monday, 29 April 2019.


Why We March

Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation presents The Ruck March of Lake County annually to raise awareness about the Veteran suicide epidemic that claims approximately 20 Veteran lives every day.

The Ruck March of Lake County is back for its third year with a new route (see map above). Our passion remains the same: to raise awareness about military suicides and to reduce the number of needless losses.

In 2018 there were 20 suicides per day of active duty military and Veterans, male and female. Alarmingly, the highest number of suicides is among active-duty personnel, the worst in at least six years. Moreover, the overall military suicide rate is much higher than that of civilians. 

The military, VA and advocacy groups are developing new ways to improve mental health care during and after service. Initiatives such as immediate support through the Veterans Crisis Line available 24/7/365 to provide support for Veterans who are at acute risk for suicide, and for those calling on the behalf of a Veteran. We need to get this message out and help reduce this staggering epidemic.

How? It is easy and rewarding.  Just march with us on September 7th and raise awareness.


VA Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (Ramp) launched

on Monday, 28 May 2018.

What is RAMP?

In November 2017, VA launched Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) with the goal of providing eligible Veterans with the earliest possible resolution of their disability compensation claim.

Initially started as an invitation only program. On April 2, 2018, the Department of Veterans Affairs expanded RAMP, by removing the requirement that Veterans first receive an invitation from VA in order to elect participation in the program.

RAMP is voluntary and will provide eligible Veterans the opportunity to enter the new, more efficient review process outlined in the historic Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 before the law becomes effective in February 2019.

VA’s Center for Women Veterans Social Media Highlights, Connects and Informs Women Veterans

on Monday, 25 March 2019.

IMAGE: CWV graphic

Posted in Women Veterans by Danielle Corazza

The women Veteran population is growing and VA is stepping up to meet the need through innovative programming and services specifically designed to serve women. But, once the programs are deployed, how do we get the word out? How do we ensure that women Veterans self-identify and take advantage of the benefits they’ve earned and deserve? And, how do we capture the sentiment and reality of what women Veterans are experiencing so we can raise those voices to drive effective policy?

Vets In Need Program

on Monday, 31 October 2016.

Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation works every day to support the 57,000 Service Members in Lake County, Illinois. Our Vets are sometimes faced with critical emergency financial needs and they come to us for temporary assistance. We respond and help when we can.

We need your help to do the right thing. One $20 donation can buy a simple meal for a Vet, provide a night of shelter, transportation to an assisting agency or any number of other needs.

Veterans Day and the season of giving reminds us of how much our Service Members, both current and past, have unselfishly served the Greater Good for the benefit of all of us living and enjoying life in the United States.

Please consider a $20 donation to the LCVFSF Vets In Need Program. Every penny of whatever you donate will go directly to a Veteran so the entire amount is tax deductible. Just click on the images above or below to be taken to the secure PayPal site to make your donation.

We thank you for your continuing support!

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