VA Suicide Prevention: You are not alone

Jeff, Yasmeen, Joseph and Nicole have been there


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Most people who consider suicide have problems they think they can never overcome. They think that no one can help them and that suicide is the only way out.

Some of the Veterans on this website felt that way. But they’re here today to tell you how they made it through and to assure you that you can too.

Click on the links to see the videos of their stories

Jeff’s wife told him, “Don’t run from this. You need to do something.”   

While deployed, Jeff endured enemy fire, mortar attacks, and rocket blasts. The effects stuck with him. At one point, he was on the verge of taking his own life when his wife, Cora, convinced him to seek help. Learn how Jeff has used therapy, community, and gymnastics to recover. His advice today: Go for it: Take that first step

“Not having time to grieve and get it touch with your feelings was really hard.”   

Yasmeen experienced severe depression in the Navy after witnessing a fellow sailor die. An attempt at self-harm made her realize it was time to get help. Through counseling at VA, Yasmeen learned ways to manage her mental health challenges. Now, she has improved relationships with her children and is on track to graduate from college.

“I had felt so alone… and out of hope. I met some other Veterans in a support group and all of a sudden, I wasn’t alone.”

Joseph was overwhelmed with guilt after the fellow sailor he loved died by suicide. After he left the Navy, Joseph experienced feelings of hopelessness and developed an eating problem. When he reconnected with a former teacher, he found the support he needed to begin counseling and turn his life around. “Now it’s time for me.”

“I feel like I’m not being judged and that’s what I was afraid of.”

Nicole, an Army Veteran, witnessed a suicide bombing that could have easily taken her life. Upon returning home, she dealt with symptoms of PTSD and anxiety, but she found hope in a new life with her daughter. Through treatment, Nicole learned to manage her symptoms every day in simple ways, like journaling and spending time with her daughter.

There are millions of Veterans and family members who have reached out for support during tough times. Their lives got better. Yours can too.

MakeTheConnection.net

Author

Hans Petersen

Hans Petersen is senior writer-editor for Digital Media, VHA Office of Communications. An Air Force Veteran, Hans also served two years in the Peace Corps and worked for 20 years in broadcasting before joining VA.

Comments

  1. Aninda Pramanik    

    Well, you may have gone through sufferings unspeakable. Still, you are one of us. Speak and see it lightened. But don’t kill yourself.

  2. Tina Garcia    

    I am an AF Security Police veteran from the Vietnam era, a lawyer and trained veteran advocate. Many veterans have died following illegal predatory ‘balance billing’ following VA authorized medical care. I recently won a case in CO county court with help from the Golden VA doctors. Veterans, if you are billed, harassed, or sued for a debt you do not owe, fight back, do not give up! Report the crime to the VA.

  3. Arnold Kaboret    

    This is cool.
    Alot of people are going through alot but suicide should never be an option

  4. Lucius powell    

    I’m getting so tired of zero improvements of my mood disorder. I just don’t know how much more fight I have in me.

  5. Eniola Micheal    

    You’re right!! No one is alone. But suicide is not an option please.

    Love your article..

  6. Gary Leazer    

    I don’t think the VA doctors really care about veterans, the nurses do. I haven’t seen my major doctor in nearly 8 months.

  7. James E. Godwin,Jr.    

    Just admit it; not everyone can be saved. I have begged for help from VA Mental Health the past 8 years,only to be told they-4-5 counselors and one psychiatrist- could not help me I agreed to see one more counselor. If he can’t help me find sufficient motivation to continue living,then I will give up,permanently. I am miserable and can’t keep going on stuck in a life not worth living. I’ll give him one more month. Not everyone can be saved…I may be one of them.

    22×9=198. The field below will only allow 2 digits.

  8. Doug Snyder    

    God Bless you & thank you for serving your country…semper fi

  9. rich bures    

    VETERANS SUICIDE PREVENTION PROGRAM

    To: Commander in Chief, Presidient Trump

    In reference to your speech at the Suicide Prevention Conference, it states that you were in the
    service and might be a Vet also. It says – because of this you have a solid understanding of the
    role everyone can play in preventing Veteran suicide. No, this is “your” responsibility in creating a
    (special suicide prevention facility.) You also stated that September is suicide awareness month. Now
    you are asking Nancy Pulossi, a socialist, to step in and solve the problem. You should never deal with
    politicians, you answer only to the Commander in Chief. He is the one who hired you. Your boss. Last
    year we lost 7000 Vets to suicide on your watch! You have done nothing to rectify this out of control
    situation since you were sworn in as S.V.A. So, I have a request. You resign now or create a (special
    suicide prevention facility.) That will require hiring me to run it. I have been studying this with help
    from staff at my local V.A. (and several top psychiatrists) for 6 years. You also need to create an
    evaluation test that will be taken right after boot camp and before deploying troops to combat zones.
    After one year they will be required to take this test again to determine if they are able to return to
    combat, then take the test again after 2 years. By doing this you will head off a lot of suicides.
    If you decide to create a (suicide prevention facility) you will have to have one in each time zone. I
    understand what my fellow Veterans (enlisted personnel) need to help them past these troubling times.
    Putting it bluntly, you don’t have a clue! I will come to your office and go over this and all the details. I
    deal in solutions and facts not just talk.
    But I bet I never hear from you!

    Richard Bures
    U.S. Navy Honorably Discharged

  10. Dianne V Moen    

    This is an encouraging article. However it is not based in reality. I live in rural Minnesota, and have been requesting help since May. I’ve called the crisis line, the White House VEO, been to the emergency room three times, have spent countless hours on the telephone. It’s a sad situation – the system is not working in all cases. And in some cases it does not seem to be working at all.

  11. Calvin H Winchell    

    Look at your medication policies which has veterans receiving needed medication on different days each month? This creates running out of medication from time to time which should not occur! Then when I requested to walk in on same date each month to physically pick up my medicine they refused and I was told” they are unable to accomplish this” ? Now with regard to pain medication and antidepressants this simply should never happen? The pain medication protocol is really inadequate and causes as many problems as it solves… In addition, when you’re required and forced to wait years for answers on disabilities and the V.A. continues o deny culpibility and send veterans packing into the night to wait and wait and wait hoping they die before their issues are resolved…now you want me to believe your trying to help the suicide epidemic (numbers dont show improvement) and you continue to charge veterans copays for what should be free, it is apparent you cant even fix an internal pharmacy issue to get veterans their medications in a timely fashion or allow them to have a say so in their care???

  12. Ronald G Brundige    

    Thank You .It’s been a tough Life . Been extremely close to taking my own life several times since October 1968 after Enlisting in the Marine Corps … God Bless everyone of You

    1. Daniel Clifford Cunningham    

      Thank you for bringing up these problems that veterans are dealing with all the time.
      With all the articles they are writing these days about how the VA really, really cares about us, the fact is that many veterans have been disrespected and neglected and abused by the system and by people working for the VA who are supposed to be making their living by getting the proper care to veterans.
      In my case I am off Rx meds now, taking only herbals and supp’s – which I pay for our of my disability allowance – but I went through so much of the same b.s. as you are talking about. And I have known other Vietnam veterans who hated the V.A. and refused to even go in to get examinations. A lot of these guys are among the suicide statistics now.
      And now they want us to believe they have got it together.
      I myself remember times that I was close – sitting on a rock on a hillside in S. California with a bottle, thinking that if I don’t do it now – while I still have the courage – maybe I will regret it for years to come when life gets even worse… . a time at the Pain Clinic at the VA in Loma Linda when I tried to tell the intake nurse that my pain level was higher than usual because I was not able to sleep much the night before …. yadda yaddaa yah… she brought up suicidal thoughts and I answered truthfully – and she took me down to the nut ward and tried to get me committed. The shrink that came to evaluate my case, after I sweated on the interrogation room for an hour, feeling like a P.O.W. , just asked me if I was a danger to myself or other people.
      The answer to that question is;: NO!…. So he told me to go home. So I did not get any pain meds or treatment or anything that that pain clinic exists to give.
      Now they tell us to trust them – that they really want to help.
      I hope so.

    2. Charles Simons    

      God bless you too, brother. Yes, it’s been a tough life for me as well. I was Army Infantry in Vietnam and was critically wounded in 1969. But when things get really hard, I try to think about what might be around the next corner. You’ll never know if you’re not there to see it.

  13. Martin Ludwig    

    More fantasy VA PR for those who don’t know the inside truth about the REAL VA

    My VA wiped out 100% of my mostly working treatment plans back in early 2011, and removed my voice from my health care, NEVER to return to this day. I have also been FORCED into a suicide promotion program be VA, only escape = suicide. All a part of VA retaliation policy when a veteran doesn’t agree with fantasy VA lies about self and has the courage to say so.

    VA abuses have been horrendous, to include false arrests without charges, PRF on my record (no evidence ever required), no appeal ever possible.

    Systematic VA discrimination at it’s best, continues to force me to document my future death on VA campus on the VA computer itself, right under VA’s noses, where VA is supposed to read and respond, but they never do.

  14. Tori Cooper    

    As a trans Veteran, I feel very very alone right now.

Comments are closed.