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September is Suicide Prevention Month

What is the Don’t Wait. Reach Out Campaign?

September is Suicide Prevention Month and the VA is reminding Veterans everywhere that suicide is preventable and there is hope. In 2021, the Ad Council and the Department of Veterans Affairs partnered to create the “Don’t Wait. Reach Out.” national campaign. It encourages struggling Veterans to seek help for their life challenges before they reach a crisis point. The campaign is part of the VA’s 10 year strategy to prevent Veteran suicide through a comprehensive, public health approach designed to support Veterans across a wide range of life challenges, before these problems become too overwhelming.

Why is it important to encourage Veterans to reach out before their life challenges become overwhelming?

Suicide is preventable. According to the 2021 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, the suicide rate among Veterans is 52% higher than non-Veteran adults in the U.S. Although Veterans are trained to endure challenging situations, the crippling effects of stigma make it difficult for Veterans to reach out for help. For Veterans with mental health issues, the social stigma and discrimination they experience can make their problems worse, making it harder to recover. It may cause the Veteran to avoid getting the help they need because of the fear of being stigmatized.

What can I do to help prevent Veteran suicide?

  • Learn the facts about mental illness and share them with family, friends, work colleagues and classmates.
  • Get to know Veterans with personal experiences of mental illness so you learn to see them for who they are rather than their illness.
  • Do not judge, label or discriminate when you meet Veterans with mental illness.
  • Treat all Veterans with respect and dignity.
  • Everyone can be a part of the solution by checking in with Veterans who may be going through a rough time and encouraging them to reach out if they need help.

What resources are available?

1)At https://www.va.gov/REACH/ you will find social media content on suicide prevention.

2)Visit www.ReportingOnSuicide.org for more information on how to communicate about suicide.

3)Call. If you or someone you know is having thoughts about suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free confidential support available 24hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 988 then press 1

4)Text 838255 for free confidential support from the Veterans Crisis Line.

5)Chat online at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help-now/chat/

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