Press release from the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs:
In observance of Suicide Prevention Month, Charles George VA Medical Center is bringing awareness to its #BeThere campaign by encouraging community leaders, colleagues, and Veterans’ families and friends to help prevent suicide by showing support for those who may be going through a difficult time.
Suicide is a complex national public health issue that affects communities nationwide, with more than 45,000 Americans, including more than 6,000 Veterans, dying by suicide every year. But suicide is preventable. VA is using a community-driven approach to prevent suicide and finding innovative ways to deliver support and care to all 20 million U.S. Veterans whenever and wherever they need it.
“Suicide prevention remains VA’s top clinical priority, but unfortunately, only one-third of Veterans who have died by suicide were engaged with VA for care. That’s why it is important for our communities to partner with VA to offer services and support to ensure we can reach all Veterans who may be in crisis and possibly contemplating suicide. By working together, our actions can make a big difference toward saving lives, ” said Stephanie Young, medical center director.
You don’t need special training to prevent suicide. Everyone can play a role by learning to recognize warning signs, showing compassion and care to Veterans in need, and offering your support. Here are some actions anyone can take to Be There:
Reach out to the Veterans in your life to show them you care. Send a check-in text, cook them dinner, or simply ask, “How are you?”
Educate yourself on the warning signs of suicide, found on the Veterans Crisis Line website.
Watch the free S.A.V.E. training video to equip yourself to respond with care and compassion if someone you know indicates they are having thoughts of suicide.
Check out VA’s Social Media Safety Toolkit to learn how to recognize and respond to social media posts that may indicate emotional distress, feelings of crisis or thoughts of suicide.
Contact VA’s Coaching Into Care program if you are worried about a Veteran loved one. A licensed psychologist or social worker will provide guidance on motivating your loved one to seek support.
Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.
Reporters covering this issue can download VA’s Safe Messaging Best Practices fact sheet or visit www.ReportingOnSuicide.org for important guidance on how to communicate about suicide.
Charles George VAMC Suicide Prevention team is holding a lecture for veterans, family members and caregivers. The topic is Veteran Suicide Prevention and Safety lecture. Medication and firearm safety, along with information on how to be safe during a mental health crisis will be shared. The lecture will be held on September 30, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. in the main building of the medical center in the multi-purpose meeting room.