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Thank a Veteran Today for Their Service!

posted Nov 7, 2016, 11:02 AM by Kristin Snell

From Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement

As Veterans’ Day approaches, you may want to promote awareness such as the recent Facebook campaign that encouraged 22 push-ups a day to draw attention to veteran suicides.

But, is that number true? And, more importantly, is it helpful to promote? At one point, 22 veteran suicides per day (when averaged over time) were reported. However, in recent years that number has been dropping--now down to 20, still far too many--as more resources were devoted to services and more veterans received help. Part of what drove that change was that the VA began to change how it messaged. They learned that focusing on how many veterans were NOT getting help, or who encountered barriers to help, or felt desperate, had the unintended consequences of creating new barriers. A stereotype was being formed that all veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress or other mental health disorders. Employers were reluctant to hire veterans, creating even larger problems. Something needed to change!

The Veterans component of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline was re-branded as the “Veterans Crisis Line” which has led to a significantly increased call volume. Military spokespeople began emphasizing that help was available, confidential, and effective rather than focusing on long wait times and other problems. More stories were told that informed the public that most veterans are reliable, hard-working, and skilled—assets to any employer.

More than 2.3 MILLION calls have been answered by the Crisis Line, almost 300,000 chat sessions conducted, and nearly 376,000 referrals made to local VA Suicide Prevention Coordinators. And the number of veteran suicides has declined.

So, thank a veteran today for their service. They served strong; they’re still strong.

For a “one-stop” website for answers to military life questions including information on deployment and transition from the military; family and relationships; education; employment; on and off base living; financial; legal; health and wellness visit: http://www.militaryonesource.mil/

 

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