The VA and DoD are launching their joint suicide prevention campaign, “The Power of 1,” this month (September) for Suicide Prevention Month.
Throughout September, the VA will use trained suicide prevention specialists to coordinate with local organizations to host health fairs and other local events to provide information about suicide prevention and the mental health resources available through the VA. You can contact your local VA office to find an event near you. At these events, veterans and their loved ones will be taught to identify warning signs and how to respond if a crisis occurs.
In the VA’s official press release, Dr. Caitlin Thompson, the Deputy Director of VA’s Suicide Prevention Program, commented, “Sometimes, when we suspect a Veteran or Service member in our lives may be going through a crisis, we are unsure how to help—but we all have the power to take the first step to reach out, to find time in our day to talk with the Veterans close to us and see how they’re doing. It takes only a moment, and just one small act can start them down the path to getting the support they need.”
The VA offers help to veterans or loved ones through the Veterans Crisis Line. The Veterans Crisis Line can be reached:
– by phone at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1
– by live chat at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat
– by text to 838255
These services are available to anyone (veterans, active duty, or loved ones/concerned individuals), and they do not have to be enrolled in the VA system to qualify.
Sadly, suicide is a very real problem for our Disabled American Veterans. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, we encourage you to get help. Call the Veterans Crisis Line or a local suicide prevention line. Tell someone—friend, loved one, clergy, medical professional—anyone. There is help—and hope—available.
If you are a friend or loved one of a veteran in crisis, reach out. Offer a kind word, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on. Use the resources listed here to get help. You never know what kind of an impact one small act can have. You may turn a life around. That’s the Power of 1!