The rate of suicide among veterans is generally twice that of the general population, making it an epidemic that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, in 2017, the rate of suicide for veterans hit an all-time high, with about 20 per day. Sadly, this number continues to increase. That’s why organizations like We Got Your 6 are working tirelessly to raise awareness and support programs that help prevent further tragedies.
Suicide Rates for Veterans
According to the Veterans Affairs Department, veterans are more likely to die by suicide than non-veterans.
There are several reasons why veterans may be at a higher risk for suicide. First, veterans often struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions that can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Veterans may also have access to firearms and other lethal means, which increases their risk of dying by suicide.
The latest statistics show that veterans’ suicide rates have increased in recent years. In 2022, the suicide rate among veterans was 21.0 per 100,000, up from 18.0 in 2020. This increase is concerning and underscores the need for better suicide prevention efforts among veterans.
If you are also committed to helping veterans in your community, here are six ways you can support their efforts:
#1. Talk about the issue
It’s easy to assume that the people around you who are experiencing the symptoms of PTSD are aware of the resources available to them. In reality, this is often not the case. You can open the door to a conversation by simply asking someone if they’ve heard the latest statistics on veteran suicide. You might be surprised by their lack of awareness. By bringing the issue to light in a non-confrontational way, you might be able to help a veteran in your life get the help they need.
#2. Donate your time or money
Veterans in crisis often find it difficult to access help because they’re not sure where to turn. Organizations like Mission 22 provide a centralized hub for veterans and their family members to find the necessary information and support. Your donation can help support these and other efforts to help veterans in crisis.
#3. Be there to listen when veterans need someone to talk to
One of the most important ways you can support veterans in your community is to be there for them when they need someone to talk to. You don’t need to be a trained professional to help a veteran in need. What veterans often need more than anything else is a non-judgmental person who will listen without passing judgment or giving advice. If you have someone in your life who you suspect is struggling, simply letting them know that you are there to listen if they need to talk is invaluable support.
#4. Support legislative efforts that help veterans
There are federal and state initiatives that help veterans in need. You can support these programs by contacting your legislators and letting them know you care about supporting veterans. If you live in a state where a prominent issue affects veterans’ health, you can also get involved in legislative action. For example, in California, a bill would help veterans by increasing access to organ transplants. By getting involved, you can help make a difference in the lives of veterans in your community.
#5. Help spread awareness of available resources for veterans
Veterans often don’t know about the programs and services that are available to them. Your support can help change that. You can help veterans in your community by sharing information about the programs and services they can use. You can do this by posting information on your social media pages, discussing it with your friends and colleagues, and educating your local community about what is available. By helping spread awareness of these programs, you can help veterans in your community who are struggling get the help they need.
#6. Volunteer your skills & talents to organizations that support veterans
There are countless organizations that support veterans by providing services like counseling and medical care. You can get involved by volunteering your skills and talents. You might be surprised at how many veterans’ organizations are in need of administrative help. If you have marketing or other business services that you can offer, you can often help veterans’ organizations afford more services for the veterans who need them.
Veterans in your community are at risk of suicide every day. While suicide is complex, there are many ways you can support veterans in your community by increasing awareness of the issue, supporting legislative efforts that help veterans, helping spread awareness of available resources, and volunteering your skills and talents to organizations that support veterans.
By taking these steps, you can help prevent future veteran suicides and improve the lives of veterans in your community.
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