The public is invited to participate in a free training and awareness session Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 8 to 10:30 a.m. in Belfast, hosted by the Veterans Administration Togus Suicide Prevention Team led by Tracy Charette, RN.

The S.A.V.E. Training is considered a best practice in suicide prevention. The goal of this training is to help individuals recognize warning signs for suicide and how to reach out to a veteran who may be in crisis. As a whole, suicide is a national public health issue that does not discriminate and it affects people from all walks of life.

This critical information helps us to understand crisis and the potential for suicide both nationally and within the veteran population. This knowledge can help save a life.

Suicide prevention is Veterans’ Affairs highest priority and it has been realized that early intervention and widespread support are needed from clergy, law enforcement and all first responders, medical professionals, hospitals, community members, community providers, families, individuals, veteran organizations including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, AMVETS and others.

By involving our communities and its members, we are reaching veterans where they live, work, and engage with others.  Many veterans are not in contact with the VA or receiving care, so creating these partnerships and promoting understanding of veteran risk for suicide are paramount.

Please come and join the VA Suicide Prevention Team and Tracy Charette Sept. 26 at Faith Temple Church, 189 Lincolnville Ave., Belfast.  Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the training and awareness session will start at 8 a.m. RSVP is not required. Please contact Joy Asuncion at 930-5640 with questions.

Joy Asuncion is a retired U.S. Navy veteran, an Honor Flight Maine board member, a Maine Troop Greeter and the Maine State Ambassador for the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.  You can reach her at 930-5640 or