September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. It is a time to share resources, programs and stories to help end the tragedy of veteran suicide.
A report released a few weeks ago reveals military suicides have reached their highest rate since record-keeping began after 9/11. NDVS is proud to partner with community leaders in Las Vegas and the Truckee Meadows areas as a part of the Mayor’s Challenge to prevent veteran suicide. There have been some successes, with Nevada being the only State having a (slight) reduction in veterans suicide, but much, much work remains. I have shared this with you before, but here are some important things that you can do to help our veterans in crisis:
- Put the National Crisis Line telephone number in your phone. Right now. Pull out your phone and enter this number: 1-800-273-8255.
- Take the free S.A.V.E. training offered by the PsychArmor Institute. This 25-minute course can help you support a veteran struggling with thoughts of suicide. The link is: https://psycharmor.org/courses/s-a-v-e/
- Become a Nevada Veterans Advocate and help provide veterans and their families’ information about resources and benefits that can enrich their lives. While half of all veteran suicides result from mental health illnesses, the other half are attributed to stress associated with life (relationships, finances, illness, grief, etc.). NVAs can help navigate veterans to these needed resources. Learn more, go to: http://veterans.nv.gov/community/veterans-advocacy/
- If you see a person who is struggling, grab them and go get a cup of coffee. Ask if they are OK. Listen to them…really listen. Make sure they know that you hear Listen and allow the veteran to talk in a non-judgmental atmosphere. A recent survey of veterans who attempted suicide revealed one common factor: they felt like no one heard them. Provide the veteran with reassurance that help is available; and that you can and will help them connect with the services needed including the telephone number to the crisis line: 1-800-273-8255. Also, follow up with them later, encouraging them to make that call.