Strong. Driven. Caring. Words used by so many to describe Veterans who succumbed to the weight of their problems and committed suicide. One life lost to suicide is too many. We lose over 20 Veterans to suicide every single day.
There are many faces behind the statistics. Their stories are unique and yet the same. They represent the 1% of citizens that volunteered to serve their country and to lay down their lives if needed. These Veterans had so much to live for. They were loved. They led lives of service. They were exposed to physical or mental trauma. They had families that they loved and who loved them. They had injuries that may or may not be visible to others. They became part of a larger family. They felt alone. Their lives meant something. They felt their lives meant nothing. They helped others. They needed help.
At Team Foster, we are dedicated to ensuring that every Veteran’s struggle is our struggle and we live our motto: No Hero Left Behind.
Advocate. Check in. Listen. Be present. Simple things that each of us can do to help a Veteran shoulder their burden and persevere.
Know what to look for. There may not be signs that someone wants to hurt themselves, but there are some signs that someone may be considering suicide. These include:
- Social isolation
- Changes in sleep patterns — sleeping all the time or not at all
- Losing interest in things that used to be important or things that they used to care about
- Giving away possessions
- Abusing drugs or alcohol
- Feeling hopeless
Know how to get help. Call the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-TALK (8255). Family members and friends can call the Coaching Into Care line at 888-823-7458 to talk with someone who helps determine the best way to help the Veteran they care about.