The following is a blog post from the Veterans Administration, dated Aug. 15, 2013. It is reprinted here with permission:
Family matters. Friendship matters. Support matters. Every veteran matters.
This September, Suicide Prevention Month encourages veterans and their loved ones to focus on the things that give life meaning — the things that matter. Anyone who knows a veteran can help.
Whether a veteran has just returned home, or served years ago, their experiences remain with them. Their wounds might not be visible, but they need our attention. We can support veterans who are dealing with challenges of all kinds; we’re in this together.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) urges groups and individuals nationwide to stay alert for signs of suicide risk in the veterans they care about. If you’re concerned about the veteran in your life, lending a hand doesn’t have to be hard. Just talking about it opens the door to finding support. The Veterans Crisis Line can help.
The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource that veterans and their families and friends can access any day, any time. Trained professionals at the Veterans Crisis Line — many of them are veterans — are ready to listen and provide support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Since launching in 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line has answered more than 890,000 calls and made more than 30,000 life-saving rescues.
VA counts on grassroots networks and community organizations to spread the word that support is just a call, click, or text away. It’s up to all of us to get educated, get involved, and take action to help veterans access the support and care they deserve. Because one small act can make the difference.
The first step in preventing suicide is understanding the warning signs; people may show signs of risk before considering harming themselves. Warning signs include:
The presence of the following signs requires immediate attention:
If you notice these warning signs, tell a veteran about the Veterans Crisis Line, or make the call yourself. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or text to 838255 for free, confidential support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
This Suicide Prevention Month, let our veterans know they’re not alone, and they matter. Help them connect with the Veterans Crisis Line, where confidential support is always available.
You can get the conversation started today. Visit VeteransCrisisLine.net/SPMToolkit to download free Suicide Prevention Month materials, including flyers to print and distribute, digital ads to display on your website, and content to post on social networks or in newsletters. Learn how you and your community can work together to prevent suicide.
You have the power to listen. You have the tools to support. You can show you care. It matters.
“The road is hard,” says U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Ovie Longhorn. “But there’s help out there. All you have to do is ask.”
Visit VeteransCrisisLine.net to learn more.