VA Steps Up Suicide Awareness Programs
Suicide is a national health concern, but it is preventable and we all can play a role in preventing Veteran Suicide. That's the message from VA Suicide Prevention Coordinators Lindsey Cord and Jennifer Quinn. Both were guests on Monday's 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins.
18% of all suicides are veterans, and they only make up 8.5% of the general population. About 25 veterans die by suicide every day in the United States. More than half of them were not enrolled in VA healthcare. So because all veterans don't come to the VA, Cord and Quinn say they are actively working to provide outreach and education to the community. They're calling on faith organizations, employers, and the entire community to help eliminate veteran suicide.
What are some warning signs that we all can look for? Here are some significant changes in behavior or mood:
- Are they sleeping a lot more, or a lot less.
- Are they quick to anger?
- Are they more withdrawn or isolated from family and friends?
- Are they drinking more alcohol?
- Are they engaging in more high-risk behaviors?
- Are they expressing feelings of hopelessness or saying that people might just be better off if they weren't around?
Generally, with people having suicidal thoughts, there is an underlying and treatable disorder, and veterans are often at a more elevated risk because of things like PTSD.
Homelessness or substance abuse are also a factor, but are things that there are help for.
Here are three ways to reach out the VA.
VAs Lindsey Cord, Jennifer Quinn, WBCK Photo