Chillicothe VA Medical Center
Veteran Suicide Awareness and Prevention – #BeThere
Year-round, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) empowers communities to take action to support our Nation’s Veterans. Each community across the country plays a role in supporting Veterans, but as an individual you may not know what to do or where to start.
You don’t need to have special training to support the Veterans in your life, and we can all do something to help a Veteran who is going through a difficult time. Even seemingly small actions can have a huge impact: Preventing suicide begins with just the willingness to Be There.
Showing your support can be as simple as sending a Veteran a text message — inviting someone over to catch up or sharing a positive thought are both great ways to communicate that you care. Your words could be exactly what a Veteran in crisis needs to hear, and could be a reminder of the many people out there who are willing to listen.
Championed by Secretary Robert Wilkie, preventing Veteran suicide is a top priority for VHA and a national public health issue that affects all Americans. Just as in the general population, there is no single cause of suicide among Veterans. A death by Suicide often reflects the complex interaction of risk factors at the individual, community, and societal levels.
Over the last decade, VHA has implemented numerous programs, policies, and initiatives related to suicide prevention. One example is our upcoming campaign across our facilities to engage media to promote/discuss their local suicide prevention programs and efforts during Jan. 22-25.
VA partners with hundreds of organizations at the national and local levels to raise awareness of VA’s suicide prevention resources and to educate people about how they can support Service members and Veterans in their communities.
Some of the resources VA offers to Veterans, their family members and friends include:
- The #BeThere campaign — emphasizing that everyday connections can make a big difference to someone going through a difficult time and that individuals don’t need special training to safely talk about suicide risk or show concern for someone in crisis.
- Make the Connection — providing hopeful stories, information and solutions to issues affecting Veterans.
- The Veterans Crisis Line — a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text to connect with qualified, caring VA responders. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or text a message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24/7/365. All of us should have this number in our cell phones should a Veteran be in need of support.
Simply reaching out to a Veteran in need and opening the door for a discussion could make all the difference. Learn more ways to show your support and Be There by visiting VeteransCrisisLine.net/BeThere to find more resources and information.