Since we’ve been seeing a few distressed comments here and on our Facebook and Twitter pages lately, I want to discuss the topic of suicide threats—both vague and explicit. What I want to do is to let you know a couple of things about this.
First, we don’t take any of these for granted and we don’t assume anyone is joking. We’re not oblivious to what’s going on in the lives of Veterans, so we take each of these comments seriously. I’ve seen enough in the last few years to know the cost of not intervening. We immediately notify VA’s mental health professionals whenever we see someone expressing hopelessness or a reference to harming themselves. Once notified, VA’s mental health folks assess the comments and determine whether or not reaching out is necessary. Often, it is.
Second, we also want you to know that it’s okay to say something—to us or to your fellow Veteran—if you catch a comment before we do. We monitor throughout the day, but that doesn’t mean we see everything immediately. So if you see someone hurting, please offer encouragement and let us know. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
If you saw one of your military buddies in trouble, you’d offer help. And that’s we should be—and are— doing here. If you have any thoughts or advice on this, we’d be interested to hear it in the comments section.
Visit VA’s Mental Health home page for more information and links to vital resources. And if you or someone you know is in need of immediate assistance, please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.