Veterans can be at particular risk for depression and suicide around the holidays, and many are disproportionately hard-hit by the pandemic due to age, chronic health issues, post-traumatic stress and isolation.
The American Legion’s Buddy Check program is designed to give Legionnaires the tools to make contact, engage in conversation, assess risks and direct veterans in need to the appropriate services. Resources and toolkits for Buddy Check teams are available at www.legion.org/buddycheck. Also posted on the platform are Buddy Check success stories.
With military suicides up 20 percent over this time last year, Legionnaires are urged to make check-in calls to at-risk veterans across the nation and offer support and access to wellness programs in the winter months ahead.
Your support needed to help pass Buddy Check legislation
The American Legion is calling on its nearly 2 million members to contact Congress to unanimously pass the Buddy Check Week bill introduced with bipartisan support from U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Doug Jones, D-Ala.; and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.
The legislation will require VA to establish a “Buddy Check Week,” as well as provide educational opportunities, materials and references for veterans to learn more about how to conduct personal wellness checks. The bill also compels VA to expand resources for the Veterans Crisis Line to handle any potential increased volume during the designated week.
Contact Congress at www.votervoice.net/AmericanLegion/home to support the “Buddy Check Week” bill.