FMHI Faculty Attend Roundtable on Suicide Prevention Among Veterans

by Theresa Woods

Following the release of startling statistics, several Florida agencies gathered to showcase outreach efforts designed to help prevent suicide among our nation's veterans. Steve Roggenbaum, MA, Dr. Colleen Clark and Dr. Larry Schonfeld of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) along with CBCS Dean Julie Serovich participated in this event, titled the "Veterans Roundtable on Suicide Prevention and Treatment," which was called by United States Representative Kathy Castor.

With more than two dozen medical, research, educational and social service vendors available to discuss these issues at the roundtable, Roggenbaum, Clark, and Schonfeld were able to contribute vital research-based information from recent studies and projects conducted in FMHI.

“Awareness, availability, and utilization of existing resources is one key to helping prevent deaths by suicide among Veterans, says Roggenbaum, who conducts considerable research in suicide prevention among children, adults, and Veterans. “It is essential that we implement and continue to develop evidence-based treatments and programs to be as effective as possible for those who have given so much for our country.”

The Tampa Bay Area has nearly 200,000 Veterans as residents, making it an ideal place to gather data and conduct research on Veterans and mental health.

Schonfeld and Clark, who serve as key investigators on multiple Veteran-oriented studies, feel that the location and resources of FMHI create a perfect storm to make Tampa Bay and USF ground zero for reduction in suicide among Veterans.

Schonfeld, the previous interim director of FMHI, is optimistic.

“With research and evidence-based practices, FMHI can play a key role in reducing these suicides and improving circumstances for Veterans in our area and across the country.”

To learn more about FMHI’s initiatives in Veterans’ behavioral health and homelessness projects, click here