MID-SOUTH HEROES: Social worker helps veterans with suicide prevention

(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Sep. 27, 2018 at 5:01 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A hero to those who pay the ultimate price for freedom has dedicated her life to lightening the road to recovery for veterans during their darkest times.

"With the veterans that are coming back from Iraq, they are especially on the rise, the suicide rate,” said Kenneth Rushing. “And so, we need more people that are dedicated to their job."

Ms. Renee Brown is a Licensed Clinical Social worker who is the Section Chief of Mental Health and Social Work Recovery.

She’s been described as tough but fair and has been called a champion of suicide prevention.

"Dealing with Ms. Renee Brown and a lot of members of her team --some great individuals,” said Travis Johnson. “When I say they are passionate about people. They are. That's why I'm here today."

The praises just keep pouring in for Brown, from veterans to a former spouse of a veteran, who is now her assistant.

The veteran said that Brown helped him and ushered him through a mental health situation, where he was able to get assistance.

“She saved his life,” said Delia Santiago.

Seeing people at some of their low points in life only propels Brown to make sure the heroes are provided with quality care and service.

"I just tell them, the veteran I’m talking to, to say, ‘Renee Brown sent me,’ and so when they do that, then the ED already knows,” Brown said. “They take them one-on-one, make sure they are safe.”

Brown rises to the occasion every day.

One day, the National Crisis Hotline needed Memphis' Champion of Suicide Prevention when a suicidal veteran driving an 18-wheeler, a truck that could weigh up to 80,000 pounds and be used as a weapon, was located in West Memphis, Arkansas.

Renee convinced the truck driver to pull over.

"While he was doing that, my staff was calling the Highway Patrol letting them know we had a high-risk veteran,” Brown said. “But the veteran pulled over and the police was able to secure him and bring him to the VA."

Veterans reach out to Brown because she can arm them with coping skills and words of encouragement.

"The strength of a solider is not afraid to ask for help, the courage of a solider would ask for help,” said Danny Tillman.

Ms. Renee Brown, you are our Mid-South hero.

If you know someone deserving of the title Mid-South Hero, nominate them at this link.

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