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VA Northern California Health Care System


Suicide Prevention and Returning Veterans Mental Health Outreach, Education and Care Program

Veterans experiencing a life threatening emergency should dial 911 for immediate medical or mental health attention. Veterans who are having thoughts of harming themselves should call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) or visit the Veterans Crisis Line Website.

Suicide Prevention Coordinators

  • Sacramento: Brian Shaw, LCSW
  • Contact: (916) 640-8090
  • East Bay: Brian Adkinson, LSCSW
  • Contact: (925) 372-2091
  • Redding: Roxanna Zalesny, LCSW
  • Contact: (530) 247-7919

The Suicide Prevention Program began as a result of the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention act signed by Congress in 2007. It mandated VA to establish a comprehensive Suicide Prevention program and hire Suicide Prevention Coordinators for each Medical Center and large CBOC. A National Veterans Crisis line was established that is staffed by VA employees and it has been widely advertised to the Veteran community. VANCHCS has three Suicide Prevention Coordinator positions. This team monitors Veterans identified as being at high risk of suicide, follows up on calls to the Veterans Crisis line, educates staff about suicide prevention strategies and provides outreach to Veterans, families, and the community regarding suicide.

Outreach Specialists

  • Martinez: Brian Sloane, Program Support Asst.
  • Contact:  (925) 372-2275
  • Redding: Leslie Merideth, Program Support Asst.
  • Contact: (530) 247-7920

The Returning Veterans Mental Health Outreach, Education and Care Program provides mental health outreach services to Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their family members. Our program seeks to (1) Locate men and women who have served our country in Iraq or Afghanistan; (2) Offer presentations on post-deployment challenges and strategies to cope; (3) Educate family members about combat-related changes and how to support the Veteran; (4) Provide educational materials to Veterans, family members, and their supporters; (5) Assist in determining if mental health services are needed; and (6) Facilitate referral for mental health treatment as appropriate. The team provides outreach services to Military, Reserve, and National Guard members as well as engaging in community-based outreach activities such as public talks, information booths, and interviews with the media.