The Disabled Veterans National Foundation, a non-profit veterans service organization that focuses on helping men and women who serve and return home wounded or sick after defending our safety and our freedom, is echoing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in asking the public to lend support to veterans and help raise awareness of suicide prevention during the month of September.
Throughout the summer, the VA has been holding Mental Health Summits at 151 VA medical centers to engage communities and veteran service organizations in efforts to help address the mental health needs of veterans and their families. It concludes at the end of September, capping off Suicide Prevention Month.
The VA's theme for this year's Suicide Prevention Month is "It Matters," which, according to the department, the goal is to "emphasize the people, relationships and experiences that matter to veterans and their loved ones, reinforcing their personal connections and giving their lives hope and meaning."
DVNF agrees that suicide is a major issue that our veterans face when they return home. With recent statistics showing an average of 22 veteran suicides per day, steps need to be taken to address this alarming trend.
Part of the VA's initiative is to encourage the loved ones of veterans to learn and understand the warning signs of suicide. It is important for veterans to get the help they need when they are in distress, and there are many resources at the VA to help veterans in need.
"It is so important for veterans to realize that there is absolutely no shame in seeking treatment," said Precilla Wilkewitz, President of DVNF. "We are very supportive of the VA's initiative to emphasize the things that matter most, and to help veterans understand that we are all here to help."
Veterans in crisis can call the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1), chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat or text to 838255 – even if they are not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care. All Veterans Crisis Line resources are optimized for mobile devices.