September 6-12 is National Suicide Prevention Week. Suicide is a serious issue and is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. People of every age, race, nationality, sexuality, and background struggle with suicidal thoughts and actions, but some populations are at a particularly high risk. One of these groups is veterans. It is estimated that 20 veterans will commit suicide every day in the United States. Veterans only make up 9 percent of the adult population in the United States, yet they make up 18 percent of the adult suicides every year. In the state of Alabama that rate is even higher. In response to this clear need, the Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System has started the Be There campaign.
The goal of the Be There Campaign is to encourage the friends and family members of veterans to be there for their loved ones. They also provide support and resources for veterans going through a crisis. The Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System recommends the following actions to help support veterans:
- Watch the S.A.V.E video. This was put out by the PsychAmor institute and is a completely free 25 minute training, all you have to do is create an account. It covers common myths related to suicide, what the signs of suicide are, and what to do if someone you love is exhibiting signs of suicide.
- They also recommend the Coaching into Care program, which provides assistance to those who are trying to encourage veterans to seek out the care they may need.
- Another service available is Making the Connection. It is a place for veterans to share their stories and make connections with others who have had similar experiences.
- Finally, the Be There Campaign recommends reaching out to the veterans in your life. Whether it is by phone, text, or email, letting someone know that you care and that you are there for them is important to helping them through a crisis. They offer suggestions and advice if you are unsure of what to say.
If you or a veteran you know is going through a crisis, contact the Veteran’s Crisis line a by calling 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1, texting 838255, or chatting online.
The National Suicide Prevention LifeLine is also available by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or texting HELLO to 741741. And don’t hesitate to reach out to those in your life that may be going through a crisis.
For more information regarding project Be There, visit their website.
To participate in S.A.V.E training click this link.
For more information on the topic of veteran suicides in Alabama see the following article.
For a local organization that does outstanding work with veterans and their families, please visit Veterans Recovery Resources here.
This was written by Hannah Shaffett.