2019-2020 National Veterans & Family Support Ambassador
Together, we CAN and we WILL Save and Support our Heroes!
September is Suicide Awareness Month, but as an organization, saving our heroes is an everyday battle. Our veterans struggle with many things including Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, military sexual assault and other wounds we cannot see, yet they still maintain their daily life. Some days though, the struggle is too much. Our veterans go to combat one last time and become a number, one of the more than 20 veterans a day that we lose to suicide.
That number is not acceptable! It’s time, Sisters and Brothers to fight this battle for our veterans and their families! Reach out, chat with the veterans in your life – even the ones that smile all the time. Let them know it is ok to talk about suicidal feelings and practice active listening techniques. Text, call or send them a message on Facebook. You never know… the sound of your voice or an encouraging note might be the one thing that they need to fight another day.
Know the signs! If you notice a veteran hasn’t been around as much, has gotten quiet, possibly become hostile, has noticeably started to turn to an excessive vice or maybe has become more outgoing than usual, reach out. Make it a special point to visit with that veteran.
If you know of a veteran or active-duty service member and feel they need help but will not reach out, please don’t hesitate to make sure others are aware for them! Contact another veteran, a comrade that understands their suffering and ask them to assist in saving our heroes. Help them locate a support group and make a safety plan. Be there and be present; we all deal with pain differently. A simple act of kindness to a veteran or service member will let them know that they are NEVER alone.
Mental health issues can have a profound effect on the families of our veterans and active-duty service members. Don’t discount THEIR feelings. Help them get the support they need. Encourage them. Sit with them. Listen to them. Support them. Have resources ready to share with them.
I know together, we CAN and we WILL Save and Support our Heroes.
- VFW Mental Wellness Campaign: Change the Stigma, Improve Research, Support Your Community, and Explore Treatment Options
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 or Text 838255
- Lifeline for Vets 1-888-777-4443
Stay tuned and ready to help push when the time comes. Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia wants to accelerate the creation of a 3-digit, 911-style suicide hotline! This will ensure that our veterans have easy access to HELP when they need it most!