ICYMI: #ExploreVA Facebook chat on suicide prevention for Women Veterans


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The following is a recap of the Sept.16 #ExploreVA digital event on Facebook discussing suicide prevention.

“Everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention.” This message to family, friends, organizations and others who care about our Veterans and Servicemembers is part of the national #BeThere campaign to raise awareness of available resources and inspire action. This message was reinforced during the #ExploreVA Facebook chat on suicide prevention for #WomenVets hosted by American Women Veterans, in partnership with VA. During the chat, VA experts directed participants to information on VA services, benefits, tools and resources designed to help women Veterans in need.

Check out some of the questions and answers from the chat below.

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Helping someone feel included and supported can make a big difference during a challenging time. The #BeThere campaign emphasizes that small actions — like calling up an old friend, checking in on a neighbor or inviting a colleague on a walk — are thoughtful ways to show someone you care. For more information and resources visit VeteransCrisisLine.net/BeThere.

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Many Veterans may not show any signs of intent to harm themselves before doing so, but some actions can be a sign that a Veteran needs help. Veterans in crisis may show behaviors that indicate a risk of harming themselves. A comprehensive list of warning signs can be found here.

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Though enrollment in VA Health Care is not required for access to many of the suicide prevention resources, it can make a difference. Learn more about and apply for VA benefits at the Explore VA website.

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If a Veteran in crisis doesn’t have a VA Medical Center nearby, VA Vet Centers provide free counseling and referral services to Veterans who have served in a combat zone, area of hostility, experienced a military sexual trauma or served as part of a drone crew. There are 300 Vet Centers around the country. Learn more about Vet Centers.

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Veterans can supplement clinical therapy and treatment with self-help options and materials including guides, books, websites, and mobile applications can provide education about mental health conditions, tips and coping strategies, and interactive support. A directory of resources that have been reviewed and used by VA experts can be found at http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/self_help.asp.

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You are eligible for VA health care if you served in active military service and separated under a condition other than dishonorable discharge. Take 20 minutes to complete the Benefits Navigator on ExploreVA to learn about other programs you may qualify for.

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Thank you to American Women Veterans for hosting this event, and to those who participated. Be sure to visit the ExploreVA website to learn more about benefits or to sign up for future event. To view the full chat, visit the American Women Veterans’ Facebook page.

Author

Gary Hicks

is the Director of VA’s Office of Digital Media Engagement. He is a former managing editor of a daily newspaper and a Veteran of the U.S. Army. Gary’s wife is a senior master sergeant stationed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Comments

  1. Susanne Tuttle    

    I called the veterans suicide prevention hotline. Text chat. All he said was ” wow, it sounds like you have a lot on your plate. ” since I wasn’t sitting there with suicide implements in my hands then that was it. It is either “call the police/ambulance” or “gee that sounds bad.” It was no help at all. I will never call to get help again.

    I was hooked up a Facebook suicide prevention “support group”. All I go from them was how stupid I was for getting myself into problems (yep I saved one of the posts to send to the admin) and since I had full disability how dare I ask for help. 1. I didn’t ask for money. 2. I was feeling suicidal. 3. You get full service connected disability for a reason. It took me from 1990 till 2012 to get full. 4. How did they think that was going to help? 5. Full disability does not stop stupid stuff (a lot of stupid stuff, like my car totaled while parked in front of my house at 2 am.). I finally got the lead admin to look into this in September. It happened in March. This was because one of those know-it-alls told another group Vet2Vet that I was a liar. That know-it-all told me “yes, I know all about your situation. Your problem is you won’t take the advice given to you even if you think it is wrong.” Think that one through…. Yep it was stupid. This is why veterans commit suicide.

    The VA PTSD department let a client tell me in group that “I had no right to have friends or family care about me because I was stupid enough to let myself (LET MYSELF) get raped 2 times in the military. The shrink thought that was ok. This is why veterans, esp women veterans commit suicide. The VA hospital denied me access to a PTSD program so a male (my ex-husband) could go in. He does not have a diagnosis of PTSD but it was the best to get services from. My records say…PTSD, No PTSD for one letter so I couldn’t get in the program, PTSD. 70% PTSD. My ex, retired military, broke my jaw and my hand and damage to my spine. The family counselor told me she would force me into the mental health ward if I didn’t leave. When I did leave for a while, they called Children’s Services on me. Nothing to him though. Go figure.

    This is why veterans commit suicide.

  2. Bonnie r Casler    

    I have used the VA inpatient program several times. The problem is I always AMA because of the treatment and conditions of the facility. Staff on their cell phones instead of maybe talking To veterans and seeing what they might need. On my healthy vet it said I got a handbook on how the ward works. That never happened. I tried to ask, but seemed to upset staff from their cell phone texting our games.

    There was a TV that remIned on one channel as staff was get frustrated and say they would only change it once. I could see that IF they were busy.

    In my VA, all of your under clothing is taken. No one can tell me why. It can’t be a safety issue as they give us PJ ‘s with long sleeves and pants. This causes me fear as the ward is mostly men and I deal with abuse by men.

    I asked if there was colors, or books or anything to do. Answer NO. I couldn’t take it and signed out AMA. I was getting frustrated and just could not overlook the condition. I was told I as leaving still ill. I was told I would not be set up with any follow up and I would not get prescriptions. I did not care, I needed to breath.

    I know many people have tried to change those conditions, but you can’t change a situation without the staff being on board. So I stay away. I do go to a suicide prevention group and get more out of the other women vets, but that is not making me well.

    When I went from the original hospital to the VA hospital, I was taken by the sheriffs department in full shackles. I was drugged and could hardly walk especially with chains on my ankles. Very demeaning. Not even a person who breaks the law is shackled. I can say I will never ask for help again. My only crime was I took too much of my medication in a four day period.

    I feel these are some barriers of vets getting help. Doesn’t seem very important unless you are living it.

    1. Susanne Tuttle    

      Bonnie
      Did they tell you there was no programs for women? Also the social workers are for the men. Love the VA wards. My choice for being trapped on an all male ward was to be locked in my room.

  3. thomas gomez sr    

    THE VA IS DOING THE BEST IT CAN WITH WHAT ITS GOT! THANK GOD FOR THE VA! AND FOR THE COMPLAINERS . AND THE CRITICS LIKE FOX NEWS ! YOU NEVER TALK ABOUT THE GOOD THINGS THE VA IS DOING. ONLY THE THINGS YOU THINK ARE THE BAD THINGS! WE ARE ALL LUCKY AS VETERANS TO HAVE OUR VA !! WE ARE SACRED TO AMERICA! THAT’S AN HONOR!

    1. Susanne Tuttle    

      Thomas. As a male veteran, believe it or not, you get A LOT better service than the women.

  4. Mike    

    It takes the VA to much time to do simple task so bigger task fall aside

Comments are closed.