Fresno County taking action to prevent veteran suicide with special event

Amanda Aguilar Image
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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To close out September's Suicide Prevention Month, several Fresno County agencies are taking action to raise awareness about mental health among veterans and their loved ones.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- To close out September's Suicide Prevention Month, several Fresno County agencies are taking action to raise awareness about mental health among veterans and their loved ones.

"I could barely move my arms. I was having a lot of pain and problems," recalled Jeremy Devault. "So I'd be lying to say the thought never crossed my mind to do that action."

Devault served in the Army for six years, with a few deployments to Iraq. During his last one, he got injured.

"I was 23 years old. I was still very young, and I was injured already. So at that point, I thought, you know, my life might be over," he said.

Devault struggled with substance abuse, and it took a while for him to reach out for help.

"I'd either be in prison or dead if I didn't get that help," he added.

Mental health therapy and substance abuse treatment saved Devault.

"Now that thought never crosses my mind," he said. "I have three daughters now and a wife."

Devault will be one of several veterans on a panel Tuesday morning.

The Veterans Affairs Central California Healthcare System, Clovis Veterans Memorial District and Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health are set to host an event to discuss mental health and suicide prevention with vets and their loved ones.

"The theme of 'Be There Together' was to really try to reduce some of that stigma around things like suicide prevention and wellness for veterans, and at the same time, let them know that we're there with them," explained Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health division manager Ahmad Bahrami.

In addition to the panel, there will be two breakout sessions.

The event is from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District. Registration is free.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).