White House, VA launch call to action to engage nation in preventing suicide

White House, VA launch call to action to engage nation in preventing suicide

The White House and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) last week launched the REACH national public health campaign. The goal of the campaign is to empower Americans to play a role in preventing suicide.

REACH was established by the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS), a Cabinet-level task force that is a result of an executive order signed in March by the president.

“REACH will empower our nation’s Veterans to seek and receive help, and it will encourage them to reach out to their brothers and sisters in need who may be vulnerable,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “The power of this campaign will change how we talk about mental health and suicide in our nation. It will ensure that those in need, especially the men and women who have served our great nation, will receive the care and support they deserve."

“The REACH campaign will inspire and educate all Americans — encouraging them to share their own struggles and to reach out to those who are hurting," said PREVENTS Executive Director Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen. "It will engage our veterans to help lead the way as we change how we think about, talk about and address suicide."

The REACH campaign website, www.wearewithinreach.net, provides information to help people recognize risk factors for suicide, including financial stress, chronic illness or pain, isolation and mental illness. It also links to resources that can provide assistance.

To take the PREVENTS Pledge to REACH and become part of the solution in preventing suicide and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, visit https://www.wearewithinreach.net/.

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide or is in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for confidential support 24 hours a day at (800) 273-8255. Veterans and servicemembers who need immediate help should call the 1-800 number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line, chat online at www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/chat or text 838255.