Improving care and support for former Guard and Reserve members who were never federally activated is a critical part of VA’s suicide prevention efforts.
According to VA’s most recent analysis of Veteran suicide, there were 7,298 suicide deaths among current and former service members in 2016. Former Guard and Reserve members who were never federally activated accounted for 902 suicides, or about 10 percent of the total number of suicides among current and former service members. To support former Guard and Reserve members, their families, and their health care providers, VA has developed a toolkit that presents a variety of mental health and suicide prevention resources that are available through VA and in the community. These resources include online suicide prevention training, mobile apps that help manage daily stressors, and supportive services for family members who are seeking care for former service members.
“Extending support to former Guard and Reserve members at the community level is an important aspect of VA’s public health approach to preventing suicide,” said Dr. Keita Franklin, executive director for suicide prevention in VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. “We hope that you will take advantage of the resources included in this toolkit, which are here to support you and your families in times of need.”
The health and well-being of our nation’s Veterans and former service members is VA’s highest priority. Guided by data and research, VA is working with partners, Veterans’ family members and friends, and the community to ensure that Veterans and former service members get the right care whenever they need it. To learn about the resources available for Veterans and how you can #BeThere as a VA employee, family member, friend, community partner, or clinician, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/resources.asp.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.
About the author: Dr. Andrew Moon is the associate director for education and training in VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.