Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘suicide prevention’

suicide prevention month

Suicide is a significant problem in the military claiming the lives of 22 veterans each day.

Suicide also takes a tremendous toll on our society.  In 2013, 41,149 suicide deaths were reported in the US.  We could easily read these suicide rates and forget that every number represents not only a life lost, but also a broken family, and a community wounded with pain.  Each death leaves behind a group of hurting people.

There is no “one size fits all” solution to suicide.  People contemplate suicide for many different reasons:  substance abuse, divorce, family separation, financial matters, legal trouble, a major illness, depression, and many other reasons. While the causes vary, we can all show universal concern and support.

Here are some ways to help people at-risk of suicide.

  1. Be present.  Show your concern for people in pain.  Make time for the person who is hurting. Scripture shares that we need to “bear one another’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2).  Take time to help others through their days of difficulty.
  2. Listen.  Allow that person to say what is causing the pain.  Share the gift of silent listening and then you can guide your friend with wise counsel.
  3. Do something.  The Bible encourages us to be, “doers of the word, not hearers only…” (James 1:22).  Too often, people at-risk are so overwhelmed with depression, stress, or anguish that they don’t know where to turn next, give that person guidance.  Share resources that can help.  Take them to a doctor, pastor, or counselor.  Call the VA hospital.  Find a way to connect the person with assistance.  Take action.

September is Suicide Prevention Month.  Take time to talk with a friend who is down.  Share the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-8255.  It is a 24/7 resource with trained professionals ready to help people find encouragement and hope.

Make a difference by addressing the problem of suicide.  Demonstrate compassion and concern for those who are hurting.  Be available to friends in need and take time to listen.  The time you invest could save a life.

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

President Obama signed an executive order directing federal agencies to expand suicide prevention strategies and improve access to mental health and substance abuse treatment for veterans, service members, and their families.

Citing an obligation to “build an integrated network of support capable of providing effective mental health services,” the order includes an array of directions for the Department  of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other federal agencies.  Collaboration with community-based providers, including community mental health clinics and substance abuse treatment facilities, was specifically required, particularly for areas where the Department of Veterans Affairs has had challenges in providing timely access to services for veterans.  In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services must expand the capacity of the Veterans Crisis Line by 50% and “ensure that any veteran identifying him or herself as being in crisis connects with a mental health professional or trained mental health worker within 24 hours.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs will also work with the Department of Defense to establish a national, 12-month suicide prevention campaign focused on connecting veterans to mental health services, officials reported.

To ensure veterans have access to these services, the executive order also calls on the VA and HHS to establish at least 15 pilot sites where VA can partner with local mental health providers. This initiative, officials said, will help ensure services are available in regions where VA has had trouble hiring or placing providers.

The order also directs VA and HHS to develop a plan to increase access to mental health care in rural communities.

The Veterans Crisis Line is a confidential hotline where veterans and family members can immediately connect with trained professionals during a time of crisis.  The toll-free hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

Read Full Post »

Suicide is a monumental problem in our society and in the military. Currently, a member of the Armed Forces dies each day from suicide. We could easily read the suicide rates for 2012 and forget that every suicide statistic represents a life lost.  A death that leaves behind scores of hurting people.

There is no “one size fits all” solution to suicide. People contemplate suicide for many different reasons; increased alcohol and drug use, divorce, family dissolution, financial matters, legal trouble, an illness, depression, and many other reasons. While the causes vary, we can all show universal concern and support.

Here are some ways to help people at-risk of suicide.

1. Be present. Show your concern for people in pain.  Make time for the person who is hurting.  Scripture shares that we need to “bear one another’s burdens.” Take time to help through their days of difficulty.

2. Listen. Express compassion through listening and responding. Empathy is a great way to show concern to a person experiencing pain. Hear his or her concerns. Allow that person to say what is causing the pain.  Share the gift of silent listening and then you can guide your friend with wise counsel.

3. Do something about the problem. Too often, people at-risk are so overwhelmed with depression, grief, stress, or anguish that they don’t know where to turn next. Give that person guidance. Share resources that can help. Take them to a medic, chaplain, or counselor. Call the VA hospital. Find a way to connect the person with assistance. The Bible encourages us to be, “doers of the word, not hearers only.”  Take action, especially when it comes to the important issue of suicide.

Suicide impacts our state, our community, and National Guard units across the nation.  While causes will vary, we can all make a difference in addressing the problem.  Demonstrate compassion and concern for those who are hurting.  Take time and be available to friends in need.  The time and efforts you make can save a life.

Read Full Post »

It is time to make a difference in your community.  It is time to stand with those who are suffering.

September is suicide prevention month.  Take time to find, list, and highlight organizations that can save a life.  Find out what resources are available in your community and share those resources.  No matter where you live, your community has access to a local, state, or national group that helps people at-risk of suicide.

Possible organizations include:  crisis centers, hospitals, churches, charities, call centers, veteran groups, along with schools and universities.  It is also important to know the warning signs and symptoms of people at risk.  Take time to educate yourself, take a class, or attend a survivors of suicide support group.

Suicide is a tremendous problem in our communities and our society.  It hurts spouses, children, parents, extended families, friends, and co-workers.  When it is all said and done, suicide impacts everyone.  Take action this September.  Make a difference in your community.  If you find a meaningful website, share it with your friends.  If you attend an ASIST class, tell people how to intervene.   Your actions and words of encouragement could help to save a life.

Read Full Post »

The VA recently announced that it will hire an additional 1,600 nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers to bolster its staff of mental health providers.  VA officials said they plan to launch an immediate recruiting and hiring effort in its 21 service networks.

Many veterans report difficulty in getting appointments and receiving timely access to the care they need.

I believe that this announcement will make a positive impact on veterans and military families.  Hiring additional staff will go a long way to improve the care and service veterans receive.  It will also increase the trust and confidence that veterans place in VA medical centers.  One bad experience can easily convince a veteran that quality care is beyond their reach, or worse yet, no one cares.  I know service members who say, “if the VA isn’t willing to help me, then why should I even try to get help in the first place.”

Today’s story should be seen as encouragement.  Encouragement that veterans matter.  Encouragement that seeking help will not be ignored.

 

Read Full Post »

The headline was small and muted this month, but the Army reported 278 suicides for 2011.  That figure represents Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve components.  While that number may not immediately seem like good news, it is nearly a ten percent drop from 2010.  It is also the first time that number has declined in four years.

I understand why no one wanted to herald the news, but this should still be seen as a victory.  We are making an incredible difference in the lives of people.  Suicide prevention training has taken hold in the force and continues to grow.  Soldiers and families understand that it is okay to talk about deployment issues and concerns.  Stigma and fear continues to decline.  Counselors, medics, chaplains and battle buddies at every level are teaching service members how to address suicidal thoughts.  That being said, there is still more work to be done.

Broken relationships are still the number one reason that Soldiers commit suicide.  It is important that first line leaders sit down with service members at the first hint of marital conflict.  Make time to listen and discover how your Soldiers are dealing with the hardships of life.

Practice ACE:  Ask, Care, Escort.  Ask people how they are doing.  Care about their situation through listening.  Escort people to a community resource when they need help.

Military One Source is available 24/7.  You can call and immediately speak with a counselor or ask for a referral.  The operator will give you several local counseling options and assist you in making an appointment.  Service members can receive 12 free counseling sessions each year.  Military One Source can be reached at 1.800.342.9647.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available to help those contemplating suicide.  You can call 1.800.273.TALK (8255) and be connected to a counselor.  Once you are on the lifeline, a person can decide to speak with a veteran or a civilian.

Army suicides are starting to decline.  Our efforts are bearing fruit in multiple arenas.  One year will may not establish a pattern, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

 

Read Full Post »

Veterans have unique issues that can easily overwhelm family and friends.  We often avoid sharing stories to shield our loved ones from ugly events that happened down range.  Sometimes we fear sharing our experiences because we need to appear strong and reliable.  Other times we just want to bottle up our emotions or forget bad memories from a deployment.

Great healing can take place when we share our stories with the right person.  The specific battlefield, combat zone, or country doesn’t really matter.  Finding the right person who will understand you and your situation does matter.  It can make the difference between seeking help or just marking time.  Veterans can now find that reliable battle buddy who also walked in your combat boots.

Vets 4 Warriors is a recently created peer support hotline.  It allows veterans to connect with fellow veterans, no matter where you may live.  Every single peer counselor is a veteran.  The beauty in this approach is allowing Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines to connect and find understanding through each other.  The hotline is available 24 hours a day, toll free, and confidential.  Community resources vary across the nation, but this program is worth sharing.

You or a veteran you know can contact Vets 4 Warriors at 1-855-VET-TALK (1-855-838-8255) or by viewing http://www.vets4warriors.com.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: