, AL — VA’s top priority is to prevent suicide among Veterans, whether or not they receive care from within the VA health care system.
During this holiday season, if you see a Veteran who appears to be lost, lonely, or depressed, please take action by getting personally involved. As leaders, supervisors, friends, and family members, it is imperative that you speak up and reach out if you notice the presence of any warning signs.
Warning signs include but are not limited to withdrawing from family or friends, a drastic shift in mood, an increase in drug or alcohol use, rage or anger, hopelessness, feeling like a burden, and talking about death, dying, or suicide.
“VA reaffirmed our commitment to addressing mental health misconceptions and the stigma that many Veterans associate with mental health symptoms, conditions, and treatments,” said Health Care System Director Amir Farooqi.
CAVHCS invited community leaders to give a message of hope to our Veterans during this very challenging time during a pandemic and the events relating to Afghanistan.
The #YourCommunityCares campaign featured the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration, members of Alabama and Georgia congressional delegations and the Montgomery Vet Center joined CAVHCS to demonstrate their support for Veterans in September during Suicide Prevention Month.
You can view their messages here CAVHCS Facebook page.
“I have no doubt that Veterans are driven and resilient, but everyone needs help sometimes,” said Farooq. “We understand this has been a challenging year, so, whether Veterans are looking for peer-to-peer support, clinical care, counseling, or something else, VA along with our community resources are here to help.”
CAVHCS must ensure our Veterans know that reaching out for mental health information and support is just as important as talking to their providers about diet, blood pressure, joint pain and other health challenges.
VA also has resources to help Veterans transitioning from the military or going through a difficult time in life. VA Solid Start connects Veterans with qualified representatives who call three times during a Veteran’s first year of separation to walk through the benefits available. The Self-Check Assessment is a confidential, anonymous risk assessment Veterans can use to help them understand if and how stress and depression affect them.
Remember, let Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, know to contact the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential crisis intervention and support available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text 838255, or chat online at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/chat.
Veterans don’t have to be enrolled in VA health care or registered with VA to use the Veterans Crisis Line.