Remaining vigilant with our veterans as Suicide Prevention Week ends

Suicide prevention week ended yesterday. The remainder of the month is also dedicated to ending suicides for many other health organizations. Veteran suicides play an important role during these awareness periods because when we have our brothers and sisters taking their own lives, then we have truly failed them. They stepped up for us. They raised their right hand and swore an oath to defend the country and when they came home, we couldn’t protect them.

We must always ask ourselves what is causing these men and women, some of whom have fearlessly put themselves in danger while serving, to make the decision to end their lives. There are plenty of recognized factors. The turbulent transition period after leaving the military. That was the case for me and there have been times where I’ve struggled.

When we get out we’re isolated. We’re alone. Yes, we might be around friends and family but they don’t understand. We have to build that community outside of our installations. And surround that community with constructive living, not just for drinking,

We also have to encourage a determined career track after the military. What are you going to do for work? Some of us have military occupations in the service that we’re not qualified for in the real world.

And we must also have our resources ready to help when we do fall. There are a lot of organizations that like to take pictures with veterans, but when the time comes to do the work they disappear. It’s happened to me. It hurts. And if it’s happened to you, you’re not alone. We keep pushing.

That has to be the message. To keep going.

Life can be challenging. It may be challenging us right now. But life is also good. Think of the happy times and decide to create more of those happy times, no matter how far away they may seem.

And reach out for help if you need it. You’re not alone.

If you need to talk to someone call the Veterans Crisis Hotline. Dial 988 and then press 1.

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