Second Lady Pence raises awareness of veteran suicide prevention

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Second Lady Karen Pence spent some time in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, hoping to raise awareness about mental health and veteran suicide prevention, as well as programs that help support entrepreneurship among military spouses.

Pence participated in a Veteran Suicide Prevention Roundtable with Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, the assistant secretary for mental health and substance use, and Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), as well as several organizations participating in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Governor’s and Mayor’s Challenges.

SAMHSA’s Governor’s and Mayor’s Challenges bring together various members of a state or community to work together to prevent suicide in service members, veterans, and their families using public health approaches and best practices.

Pence learned more about how the public, private and non-profit partners in Mecklenburg County came together to implement the SAMHSA challenge by focusing on increasing access to mental health and suicide prevention services and support, as well as strengthening the continuum of care and identifying critical data points to measure the impact and quality of care.

Pence also visited a military spouse-owned business, DocTerra Mobile Veterinary Services, PLLC, and spoke with the owner, Dr. Terra Smith; her husband, a former Marine; and representatives from the Small Business Administration. After giving Pence a tour of the mobile clinic, Smith discussed how the SBA helped her start the business and how the business has been growing and adapting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pence also visited HopeWay Mental Health Treatment Center with McCance-Katz to be part of a roundtable discussion on mental health resources and veterans programs. Discussion participants included art and music therapists, and the center’s new veteran coordinator. The group discussed the center’s art and music therapy programs and other veteran-specific programs offered at the center. Two veterans at the center gave Pence and others insight into their experiences at the center.

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