VETERANS, DON’T CONSIDER SUICIDE!

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A recent letter sent out from Matt Helm, National Commander of the American Legion, shows that there is help for suffering veterans. There are 22 veterans committing suicide a day and this needs stopped. Once veterans show that this can be done, others can have an example.

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Letter from the National Commander

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Here, from an email sent out, is the letter to show there is help for veterans.

The most recent data for veteran suicides – 22 a day – is heartbreaking. These are men and women who vowed with their lives to protect our great nation. They slept on battlefields, spent weeks at sea, flew over hostile territory and faced enemy fire so that we might sleep without fear at home in America.

Somewhere along the line, sometime after discharge, something happened to them. It may have been caused by post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. It may have been depression brought about by unemployment, under-employment or homelessness.

No matter the reason, mental health of veterans is an issue in need of resolve. The American Legion knows that the high suicide rate does not need to exist.

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VA has broadened its ability to help veterans in crisis. In fact, family members and friends can contact VA through its suicide prevention hotline, texting service or online chat if there are concerns. Here is how you or someone you care for can reach VA during a crisis:

Chat phone number: 800-273-8255, press 1.

Texting service: 838255

Online chat service: www.veteranscrisisline.net

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VA responders have participated in more than 1.25 million crisis center calls, 175,000 online chats and 24,000 texting conversations. There are many success stories and happy endings in those conversations. Still, more needs to be done to reverse the increasing number of suicides.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. But once the calendar turns to October, the threat remains. Be on the lookout for veterans who need help. Listen to them. Talk with them. Direct them to their local coordinators at www.veteranscrisisline.net. Or, if necessary, contact a counselor on their behalf.

A simple phone call, a willingness to listen or to step up with a referral for a fellow veteran can save lives. Please be on the lookout.

Don’t let the problems get any bigger.

PAUL SHANNON @ AMERICAS FREEDOM FIGHTERS

 

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