When I came home from Iraq in 2004, little information and relatively few resources were available to help me reintegrate. And in addition to trying to navigate my own transition from combat to comfort, I was struggling to learn how to help my combat-wounded partner recover from a traumatic brain injury. Before long, I felt overwhelmed and hopeless. The then-prevalent Army message to “suck it up and drive on” made me too ashamed of looking weak to admit that I was considering suicide. Luckily, with support from friends, family, and VA, over time I successfully navigated the journey to my new normal.
My personal experience showed me how important both informal support from people in my personal network and formal support from mental health providers can be, and I am deeply committed to VA’s suicide prevention efforts. I will #BeThere to support Veterans – and I hope you will, too.
We are committing the Center for Women Veterans to:
- Teach all family, friends, and caregivers about their role in preventing Veteran suicide.
- Share advanced knowledge and innovation that will help prevent suicide.
- Get to know Veterans who live in our communities.
- Stop to listen and understand the challenges faced by Veterans.
- Promote safe environments for Veterans, their families, loved ones and others.
- Connect Veterans with people and resources that can address their needs and specific recovery goals.
- Respond immediately to help if a Veteran is in crisis.
- Support families, friends, providers, and all those affected by Veteran suicide.
- Stand resolute in action so that none of our Nation’s Veterans is ever alone or without hope.
- Develop specific actions, during the month of September, to reduce the incidence of suicide among Veterans.
Suicide is preventable
We can all help someone who may be at risk through simple actions that can make a big difference. Our actions can save a life.
To help you #BeThere, know what resources are available to Veterans in need:
- Learn more about how you can Be There for Veterans here.
- Every VA Medical Center has a specially-trained suicide prevention coordinator or team.
- We have also taken steps to ensure women Veterans are recognized and served based on their unique needs as women, not as just “another customer.” Women are prominently featured in Make the Connection, VA’s peer-to-peer platform, and VA has free services to help Veterans recover from Military Sexual Trauma (which a higher percent of women have experienced).
• VA has devoted unprecedented resources to this issue, including an ongoing expansion of the Veterans Crisis Line, which is available to those in need by phone, chat, or text.