Olympia supports veteran suicide prevention 988 hotline with vehicle emblem program

First city in the state to do so, veterans advocate says


The Olympia City Council recognized an initiative to display veteran suicide prevention vehicle emblems on all city vehicles as the city's way of supporting and raising awareness of suicide prevention resources for veterans.

At Tuesday's city council meeting, Fleet Operations supervisor Jaime Mastache and Solomon Gilbert from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs presented the plan to install '988' lifeline emblems onto vehicles.

These emblems promote the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number and help generate funds for suicide prevention programs.

Mastache said 200 suicide prevention emblems have been purchased and will soon be installed on all city vehicles, including the police department and public works fleet.

Gilbert thanked Olympia for leading the way and setting the example of how communities can join the fight to prevent suicide. "Your commitment today will generate awareness about the '988' Crisis Lifeline. It will also raise funds for suicide prevention efforts for veterans servicemembers and families."

Gilbert noted that while veterans make up 7% of Washington's population, they account for 18% of all suicides in the state.

Gilbert added that the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to building community-based suicide prevention programs. He believes community participation is important for breaking down stigma and creating supportive environments where people feel comfortable seeking help.

Gilbert praised Olympia for becoming the first city in Washington to display the 988 emblems across its fleet.

"By purchasing the 988 lifeline emblem, Washington residents are supporting a special fund which will be used for community-based grants and organizations to provide suicide prevention through peer support for transitioning veterans, military members, and their families," Gilbert said.

Funds from the Emblem program will support grants for community organizations providing peer support services to veterans, service members, and their families.

With the funds raised since the emblem became available in late 2022, Gilbert shared that the Department of Veterans Affairs is reviewing applications for the first community-based grant.

Gilbert reiterated that Olympia is pioneering the initiative as the first city to implement it. He hoped more cities could be involved as the Suicide Prevention Team actively works in the community to encourage other areas to join the effort.

Gilbert added that they aim to extend the program to cities across Washington.

Olympia City Council posed with Fleet Operations supervisor Jaime Mastache and Solomon Gilbert from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. The latter presented a suicide prevention emblem on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.
Olympia City Council posed with Fleet Operations supervisor Jaime Mastache and Solomon Gilbert from the Washington State Department of Veterans …


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  • SaraLynn

    I like this idea, but it really doesn't do anything to support our veterans, military retirees and their families. I have been in recent community meetings and have seen proof the Joint Base Lewis McChord is denying retirees access to crisis counseling and suicide prevention resources at the Madagin Army Medical Center (MAMC) on-post. No veteran in crisis should ever be turned away from the MAMC Emergency Room or denied access to suicide prevention help, but this is exactly what is happening at JBLM. To be clear, it's not that MAMC Medical Personnel won't offer care - they will - but rather it is that retirees are being denied access to JBLM by the JBLM Police (DES/PMO) and thus are unable to access the care that they need. JBLM DES corruption is well-known (just a few months ago there was a video of a JBLM DES Cop repeatedly striking a female soldier in the face while she was in custody at the JBLM Police Station, and the report that JBLM DES supervisors didn't care), and now the lives of our military retirees are being put at risk when that same corrupt police force denies them access to emergency medical care. This type of government misconduct and the threat it poses to our veterans cannot be tolerated in our communities.

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