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Suicide Prevention Month


#BeThere. Photo courtesy of Veterans Crisis Line
Online Exclusive posted Wednesday, September 7, 2016 - 9:50am

Paralyzed Veterans of America Recognizes Suicide Prevention Month in September

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During Suicide Prevention Month in September, Paralyzed Veterans of America recognizes the ongoing crisis of veteran suicide and renews its commitment to advocate for the mental health resources and supports necessary to preventing suicide among all who have bravely served our nation.

“Paralyzed Veterans of America is a partner for life for veterans with spinal cord injury and/or disease (SCI/D), and we consider mental health evaluation an integral aspect of good multidisciplinary SCI/D care,” said Sherman Gillums, Jr., executive director for Paralyzed Veterans of America. “SCI patients depend on the VA [Department of Veterans Affairs] system of care that treats them holistically, monitoring them over their lifetimes and consistently evaluating their progress, or lack thereof, for the hidden injury of mental illness.”

A study released by the VA in August 2016 found that an average of 20 veterans a day die from suicide. The report – the VA’s most comprehensive analysis of veteran suicide rates to date – found that suicide risk is 21 percent greater for veterans than it is for the general population.


#BeThere. Photo courtesy of Veterans Crisis Line

Paralyzed Veterans of America works tirelessly to ensure veterans are given hope as they recover and transition and advocates on behalf of veterans for timely, adequate access to mental health services. The organization also promotes efforts to de-stigmatize depression and educate society on the warning signs of suicide.

“Even one suicide is too many,” Gillums said. “We don’t see statistics, we see their faces. We know their lives have tremendous value, and policymakers should make it a priority to provide the VA with adequate resources to provide the mental health support our veterans need to realize that as well."

A critical step in preventing suicide is learning to recognize the warning signs. While a veteran may not show any of the common signs or symptoms of harming themselves, there are other behaviors that could indicate a veteran in need of support. Such signs include talking about suicide or harming oneself, engaging in risky behaviors, alcohol or drug abuse, withdrawing from family and friends, and feeling hopeless, anxious and angry.

If a veteran you know exhibits any of these signs, the toll-free Veterans Crisis Line is a way to access free, confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Just call 1-800-273-8255 Option 1, chat online at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat , or text 838255.

The crisis line – run in partnership by the VA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline – also offers a resource locator where veterans and their friends or family can search for local resources, including VA medical centers, crisis centers and specially trained suicide prevention coordinators. The resource locator can be found at this link.

“Nature abhors a vacuum,” Gillums said. “Once hope is lost, that vacuum is far too often filled with anxiety, stress, drug dependence, isolation – things that conspire against the human desire to live by making life less about the hopeful future and more about its painful past. We owe our veterans of ALL eras much better than that."

Explore the Veterans Crisis Line Resource Locator 

 

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Suicide Prevention Month

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