Whether a veteran has just returned home, or served years ago, the experiences remain with them.
Their wounds might not be visible, but they need our attention. September is Veteran Suicide Prevention Month. The first step in preventing suicide is awareness of the warning signs.
Warning signs include: hopelessness, anxiety, feeling like there’s no reason to live, rage or anger; engaging in risky activity without thinking, increasing alcohol or drug abuse, withdrawing from family or friends, thinking about and talking about hurting or killing themselves, and talking about death, dying or suicide.
If you notice these warning signs, tell the veteran about the Veterans Crisis Line. Call 1-800-273-8255, Press 1, chat on line, or text to 838255 for free, confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This crisis line is available to active duty soldiers, veterans and their families.
If you are a veteran you can also call the VA Rural Mental Health Triage Line: 800-949-1004, extension 56409, to speak with a mental health nurse about your problem and make a plan to access help.
Other resources include our Mid-Columbia Center for Living Crisis Line: 1-888-877-9147. Or contact the local Veterans’ Services Office to access local resources at 541-506-2502.
Suicide Bereavement Support, Inc. is available to help families experiencing grief and bereavement: www.sbnw.org or call 503-200-0382 for compassionate support for adults after a suicide death.
Veterans and their families matter.
Kathleen Martin has her master’s in social work and is a volunteer at the Veterans’ Services Office.