Mental health and suicide prevention during COVID-19

Strategies to protect your family and prevent suicide


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Watch leaders at the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and VA’s suicide prevention program discuss strategies to protect your family and prevent suicide during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

This important webcast provides expert answers on topics such as:

  • How VA, USCCA and NSSF are working together to help Veterans and non-Veterans with mental health challenges and prevent suicide
  • How to take care of your mental health during stressful times
  • Warning signs that someone may be at risk
  • Ways that the firearm industry, gun owners and their families can help

Safe storage can reduce the risk

VA respects the important role firearms play in many Veterans’ lives. As a result, it is dedicated to educating Veterans, their families and communities about safe storage.

In 2017, individuals used firearms in nearly half of all U.S. suicide deaths and nearly 70% of suicides among U.S. Veterans. Safe storage can put time and space between an individual and a firearm and help keep Veterans and their loved ones safe during a suicidal crisis.

By practicing safe storage before challenging times arise, you can reduce the risk for everyone in your home.

Veterans Crisis Line

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.

Reporters covering this issue can download VA’s Safe Messaging Best Practices fact sheet or visit www.ReportingOnSuicide.org for important communication guidance.


Aimee Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker and program analyst in VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Emmanuel Amuda    

    This article is just about worthless.Every person who lives with mental health issues knows, that if someone truly wants to end their lives, there is nothing going to stop them.

  2. Anne Rector    

    Your short-sighted comment displays a self-centered attitude. President Trump has done more to establish positive health care within the VA than all his predecessors. He has even given his salary to VA medical centers for improvements in mental health care. Perhaps you should look to reality and you would see truth, rather than post false statements.

  3. Anthony Jones    

    This is crazy. I just started going to the VA thinking I would get better treatment rather than going to a private doctor. However, it appears that their treatment practices are even worse. Psych meds are very bad for you and can kill a person quicker than anything else. What a way to go, especially after having done so much for this country. Trump and his highly corrupt government have really screwed up this country/world. We used to always say “follow me” to the officers in the Army but I would never follow them anywhere now. Who knew it would all come down to this.

  4. Glenn Charles    

    My favorite thing (besides having my leg misset so that it is curved and twisted by American Lakes VA) is how they declined to cover a 911 call because the VA wasn’t involved in choosing the hospital. I even have a comparison; Charter Communications was very bad; they’ve now changed the name to Spectrum and they’re much worse. I also love the way that they now claim that pain management medications automatically make the given patient (veteran) into an addict if it’s anything other aspirin or ibuprofen. Of course, they now also have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (without respect to type) as a non-serious genetic disease. If you’re interested, look up Type 7 and see when nearly all with that die by 70, in intense pain; I’m 67 soon. They did offer me a rehabilitation for my addiction to oxycodone, though, and promised they’d teach me effective pain reduction strategies. I haven’t heard of anyone else with Type 7 still walking at my age.

  5. Candy    

    Yeah, I just don’t give a sht anymore. I am sick of being here. But, i have someone I need to take care of. So I am disabled, but, am a full time caregiver. Yeah, I am such a warrior….The VA is just another example of how screwed up our goverment is. I am SO TIRED of dealing with all this crap. I am just tired. I am staying in my house and never going out again.

  6. Jon W    

    @walter, I agree if I want to put myself out of misery what gives someone the right to stop me?

  7. Rene Escatiola    

    We’ll see the situation is not helping any of my diagnosis

  8. walter mclaughlin    

    Knew a gentleman who had cancer, was under terrible pain every day with no cure in sight and no pain relief available to him. How do you convince this person that living in this condition is preferable to meeting your maker?

    How do you justify the idea that YOU should be the preventer of a decision that is really up to the person?

    What can You do to alter the situation if there is a no relief? Talk? Might be temporary answer – this has been a sad thing for a long time and I do not see any decrease in suicide over the 72 years I have been here. I ask is it really any business of ours?

  9. Michael Cardin    

    This article is just about worthless. Plus every person who lives with mental health issues knows, that if someone truly wants to end their lives, there is nothing going to stop them. I own firearms, swords, and several knives, plus an assortment of kitchen knives. What are going to do take them all away, take away my Constitutional rights, I think not.

  10. Steven Edward Mortensen    

    I am disabled and have PTSD and depression and sometimes I struggle. To be completely honest the worst thing for me mentally is dealing with VA medical. I recently had a doctor insist I take a Thyroid medicine, but as I am moving because I live closer to a different VA the ‘doctor’ there says I should not. Then again she is a nurse practicioner and not a real doctor. I currently have had 28 joint surgeries and my knees are full of bone spurs but she says because I have always been honest and spoke a little pot for my anxiety she said I can live in pain. I just switched doctors as she is a joke. She left me in so much pain I was sitting on my deck with a gun just because the pain was so bad. I finally decided to go in and spend a night at the VA. They then refused me to use a CPAP because of covid. Twice I woke up on my own choking so bad I couldn’t get a breath. The third time a nurse heard me. She checked my record and found I am listed as MANDATORY CPAP and they do have an area set up for those requiring them. The rest of the night they moved me into a recliner in front of the nurses station. The employee at the desk should be fired, but will likely get a promotion. My opinion of the VA is Lie, Deny and Hope you die.

  11. misty tuma    

    How about the VA actually provide some real assistance??!!! I CANNOT even get my provider to return my calls or even bother with a tele-appointment to order a COVID test for me?!! Im a disabled veteran and just recently left active duty. I cant return to school or clinical rotations/work because the standard of care at the VA is subpar to put it lightly and is a sad, and gross establishment. Who “claims” to help but makes it impossible to actually receive it.. IF you’re even able to find the information on where to get said “assistance”!! Have several seats VA HEALTHCARE!!

  12. Todd Foster    

    What a waste of time!
    You’re sending out emails making the recipients believe that they can access information about certain articles or listen to a webcast. When clicking on links they only go back to the same article that has no further information or webcast. And in this case there isn’t even information on how to stop someone from committing suicide
    The only information available is a small article talking about the different organizations that are involved. No usable information whatsoever. I believe I’ll just unsubscribe and use my time for something worth reading.

  13. Kevin m. Hightower    

    Are there any type of veteran housing available in my area

    1. misty tuma    

      PRECISELY!! It’s like going down a rabbit hole to try and access any information and/or help! (I.E. I had to multiply 21 X 15.. just to reply to your message?! ABSURD

    2. pRKs    

      I concur Kevin, what a load of bullsht! And they think that a suicidal Veteran can store his gun separate from his ammo to save himself? Outrageous!! Did the NRA write this for you Wilkie?!! I wish you karma dude.

Comments are closed.