Preventing Suicide: Resources to Help You and Your Family Members
Before February of 2017, I was a bit ignorant on suicide. I knew that suicide affected a lot of people, I knew that depression existed and that the disease could be a reason someone lost their life, and I knew that sometimes people felt like they had no other choice. I also knew that suicide was an issue that affected the military profoundly, both the service member and the military spouse.
But then, in February of 2017, I got a phone call I never thought I would.
My dear sweet SIL had lost her battle with clinical depression, and everything changed for us. My sister-in-law appeared so happy. She had been married to my brother for almost four years. She always had a smile on her face, ran her own business, and was surrounded by people who loved her.
What we didn’t know was what she was struggling with behind closed doors. What we didn’t know is how much pain she was in. We didn’t know that despite everything going on, she was still struggling and in the end, she could no longer fight the disease that took hold of her.
After we lost her, people started sharing their own stories with us. Maybe it was a sibling, maybe a mom or a dad, maybe a best friend. I started to hear stories of suicide everywhere I went, in the media and from others as they shared what they have been through.
The truth is, suicide is something that affects so many of us in the military and non-military worlds. Service members won’t get the help they need because they are worried about their careers. Spouses don’t reach out because they don’t want to seem like they are less than. People hide so much, even when they need help, and the rest of us are not sure what we can do.
We post reminders of the suicide hotline, we let others know we can be a listening ear, we fight for changes in the government so that people can get the help that they need, but is this enough?
The truth is, as a military spouse, this is something we need to be aware of. The risk of suicide is 22% higher for veterans than for those who have never served. 22%! These men and women who have served their country so bravely, come home from war with struggles we can’t even begin to understand, and then become at risk for something that can be preventable.
I hope that these links and resources can help you. Whether you have a spouse who is struggling, a friend or family member, you are struggling yourself, or you just want to become more informed about the issue:
Organizations & Websites
Stop Soldier Suicide– This organization works 1 one 1 with troops, veterans, and military families to help them navigate what is available. They are advocates to help figure out what each person needs to get better.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention– One of the best resources out there for information on warning signs and risk factors, statistics, and treatment.
Be There Peer Support and Outreach Center– The Be There Peer Assistance Line is the only dedicated DOD peer support call and outreach center. It is available to all service members and their families, including the Reserves and the National Guard.
Dasium- This organization focuses on teens and young adults who are at risk for depression, addiction, and suicide. They use the power of stories and personal experiences to help develop programs and resources in an engaging and effective way.
Operation We Are Here– This website has tons of resources for counseling, crisis help, suicide, mental health, and more.
Objective Zero App – Ending Veteran, Military Suicide- This is a mobile app and nonprofit to help connect veterans to suicide prevention resources as well as a community of veterans, counselors, and concerned citizens, all done anonymously.
Make the Connection– This online resource is designed to connect veterans as well as their family members and friends as well as other supporters with information resources and solutions to issues affecting their lives.
Veterans Crisis Line– This organization helps veterans that are in crisis with a hotline, chat, and text so that they can talk with caring VA responders. They also have a wealth of recourses on their website.
Blog Posts & Articles
Sometimes hearing the stories of others can help us with our pain, give us strength, and even cause us to take action when we knew we need extra help. Here are some personal stories and articles about suicide and mental health:
Why Us? Because Suicide, Depression, and Addiction Aren’t Selective…
Do you know of any resources or blog posts to add to this list?