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Veterans Health Administration

Your Life Has Meaning

 

“You have something unique to offer. Your life, because of who you are, has meaning.”

No Veteran should commit suicide. No man or woman who dedicated their life to preserving freedom for Americans should ever feel so hopeless that they would want to end their life.

But it happens.

If you are reading this and have considered suicide, know this: you are not alone. Thousands have been there and have made it through.

Here’s about ten of them who have. Watch their stories and you will see you are not alone.

It’s there on the calendar this week: Suicide Prevention Week. A good idea…an opportunity to remind America about the problems some of our wounded warriors face.

But, really, at VA, every week is Suicide Prevention Week.

At some point in everyone’s life, we all…hit a wall.

That’s why VA has the Veterans Crisis Line.

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis, and their families and friends, with qualified, caring, Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline and online chat.

Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or chat online to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

The caring professionals at the Veterans Crisis Line are specially trained and experienced in helping Veterans of all ages and circumstances. Many of the responders are Veterans and understand what Veterans and their families and friends have been through and the challenges Veterans of all ages and service eras face.

Call them and tell them about anything that has been particularly stressful for you lately — the death of a loved one, relationship break-up, loss of job or unemployment, money problems, losing your home, or anything else that might be contributing to how you are feeling.

This website explains it all: www.veteranscrisisline.net.

It is not unusual to face disappointments, frustrations, loss, and the wear and tear of daily stress.

People experience emotional and mental health crises in response to a wide range of situations — from difficulties in their personal relationships to the loss of a job.

For Veterans, these crises can be heightened by their experiences during military service. When emotional issues reach a crisis point, it’s time to call on the Veterans Crisis Line for support.

Sometimes a crisis may involve thoughts of suicide.

Learn to recognize these warning signs:

  • Hopelessness, feeling like there’s no way out
  • Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings
  • Feeling like there is no reason to live
  • Rage or anger
  • Engaging in risky activities without thinking
  • Increasing alcohol or drug abuse
  • Withdrawing from family and friends

The following signs require immediate attention:

  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself
  • Looking for ways to kill yourself
  • Talking about death, dying, or suicide
  • Self-destructive behavior such as drug abuse, weapons, etc.
If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran who is experiencing any of these signs, call the Veterans Crisis Line immediately. Responders are standing by to help.

Anonymous On-Line Quiz That Will Help

Crisis, stress, depression, and other issues affect people in different ways. Maybe you’re having trouble sleeping or feel out of control. Maybe your energy level is down or you feel anxious all the time. If these issues and others seem to be leading to a crisis, treatment can help.

On the Crisis Line website you can take a confidential, anonymous, risk assessment to see how you might benefit from VA or community-based services.

You don’t have to give your name. You just answer some questions that may be very familiar. Such as:

During the last 4 weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following?

Feeling nervous or worrying a lot?

Having arguments or fights?

Feeling out of control?

If you are a family member or a friend and you know a Vet in crisis, here’s how to recognize the signs and what you can do.

“No one is in control of your happiness but you. You have the power to change anything about your life that you want to change.”

Since its launch in 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line has answered more than 450,000 calls and made more than 16,000 life-saving rescues. In 2009, the Veterans Crisis Line added an anonymous online chat service, which has helped more than 20,000 people.

In 2011, the National Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline was renamed the Veterans Crisis Line to encourage Veterans and their families and friends to make the call. People who know a Veteran best may be the first to recognize emotional distress and reach out for support when issues reach a crisis point — well before a Veteran is at risk of suicide.

To make sure all Veterans and their loved ones are aware of the Veterans Crisis Line, VA is coordinating with communities and partners nationwide to let Veterans and their loved ones know that support is available whenever, if ever, they need it.

More information on suicide prevention and other mental health issues