September is Suicide Prevention Month
Many times, the effects of war are not just physical. Just as there are numerous support networks for the conflict wounds worn on the outside, it is crucial that there be programs and outlets for military service members and their families that are working through emotional damage. Not all issues will escalate into full blown problems, especially if preventative measures are taken. Have you noticed a loved one withdrawing from family and friends or taking on new and dangerous hobbies? These could be signs that bigger issues are brewing.
Although awareness efforts will continue throughout the year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has named September national Suicide Prevention Month. Family members, friends, and surrounding community members are encouraged to get involved, learn more, and help spread the word to promote mental health and prevent Veteran suicide.
Education comes first. The VA stresses the importance of individuals and organizations learning the warning signs of depression or the sudden presence of risky behavior. But what of the people that show no classic warning signs, and are hesitant to reach out because of the stigma behind asking for help?
The Military Crisis Line provides free, confidential support to Veterans and their families from qualified professionals—many of them veterans themselves. Since its launch in 2007, they have answered more than 640,000 calls and made more than 23,000 life-saving rescues. The Veterans Crisis Line is open around the clock, seven days a week, and veterans can connect via phone, anonymous online chat, and text message. Learn about the signs of crisis.
AfterDeployment.org provides interactive videos, resources, assessments and more information focusing on PTSD, anger, depression, and other topics.
Military Mental Health provides anonymous mental health and alcohol self- assessments, along with additional resources for family members and loved ones.
The National Center for Telehealth and Technology has put together a list of mobile applications and healthcare provider resources for service members, veterans, and their families. View or download these apps at www.t2health.org/mobile-apps.
Suicide is preventable. During Suicide Prevention Month, show support to those in need and their loved ones by spreading the word about these and other confidential resources that are right at their fingertips.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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