2017-2018 National Hospital Ambassador
Spread the Word About Suicide Prevention
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. It is an excellent time to promote resources available to help prevent suicide and bring awareness to the emotional and mental health issues that lead to suicide.
Suicide among our nation’s active-duty military and military veterans currently averages a loss of twenty (20) lives each day. Though this is down from twenty-two (22), it is still far too many.
Awareness saves lives and the efforts to promote suicide awareness and prevention are working. We can help save more lives by being proactive in getting the word out on what to look for in someone in emotional distress.
- Visit the websites listed below for information on issues our military veterans experience that lead to thoughts of self-harm.
Learn about common suicide myths and realities, Veteran-specific suicide risks, and warning signs.
For all Veterans, their families and friends. Conditions Related to Suicide. Learn what conditions are related to suicide and what you can do.
- womenshealth.va.gov/outreachmaterials/mentalhealth/suicideprevention.asp Locate Your Local Suicide Prevention Coordinator DoD/VA Suicide Outreach: Resources for Suicide Prevention.
- Incorporate suicide education and prevention materials into your program activities.
- Ask a VA mental health provider to speak at your Auxiliary meeting or host an event open to the public so they, too, may attend.
- Order items from the Veterans Crisis Line such as fact sheets, business cards, keychains, etc. to hand out to the military member, veteran, and/or his/her family member or friend who may be concerned their loved one is displaying signs of anxiety, expressing hopelessness, and isolating him/herself from loved ones and friends.
- Wear the Veteran & Military Suicide Awareness Blue Teardrop Sticker. The blue teardrop is the VFW Auxiliary’s symbol to give this issue the attention it so desperately needs. Wear the teardrop to open a conversation; when asked what the teardrop is, share that it’s to create awareness for veteran and military suicide.
- Join the Campaign to Change Direction and learn the Five Signs that may mean someone is in emotional pain and might need help.
National President Dee Guillory and Commander-in-Chief Keith Harman have once again joined together in making Mental Health Awareness their special project. October 2 – 8, 2017 is National Mental Illness Awareness Week. Your Auxiliary likely sets up a table to distribute “Buddy”® Poppies, why not set one up to hand out “Know the Five Signs” materials outside a store?
Guillory’s theme is “Catching the Dream for Our Veterans.” Our active-duty military and veterans deserve to dream as you and I do about happy times with family and friends, success in their chosen careers, and the freedom to move about without fear. Let’s do all we can to help them realize their dreams. Promote suicide awareness and prevention!