SHERIDAN — In observance of Suicide Prevention Month, the Sheridan Veterans Affairs Health Care System is bringing awareness to its #BeThere campaign by encouraging community leaders, colleagues and veterans’ families and friends to help prevent suicide by showing their support to veterans.
Suicide is a complex national public health issue that affects communities nationwide, with more than 45,000 Americans, including more than 6,000 veterans, dying by suicide every year. But suicide is preventable. Nationwide, VA is using a community-driven approach to prevent suicide and finding innovative ways to deliver support and care to all 20 million U.S. veterans whenever and wherever they need it.
“The Sheridan VA is working hard to end veteran suicide, but we know we can’t do this without community support,” said Sheridan VA Health Care System Director Pam Crowell.
“That’s why we are requesting everyone who can to get involved. We already have some great relationships with businesses and organizations here who exemplify the ‘Be There’ approach for Veterans.”
“Being There” can also mean learning to recognize warning signs, showing compassion and care to veterans in need, and offering your support. Here are some actions anyone can take to be there:
• Reach out to the veterans in your life to show them you care. Send a check-in text, cook them dinner, or simply ask, “How are you?”
• Educate yourself on the warning signs of suicide, found on the Veterans Crisis Line website.
• Watch the free S.A.V.E. training video to equip yourself to respond with care and compassion if someone you know indicates they are having thoughts of suicide.
• Check out VA’s Social Media Safety Toolkit to learn how to recognize and respond to social media posts that may indicate emotional distress, feelings of crisis or thoughts of suicide.
• Contact VA’s Coaching Into Care program if you are worried about a veteran loved one. A licensed psychologist or social worker will provide guidance on motivating your loved one to seek support.