Across the nation, the number of suicide deaths has been rising since the turn of the millennium. From 2005 to 2017, there was a 43.6% increase in the number of suicide deaths in the general population and a 6.1% increase in the number of suicide deaths in the Veteran population. With the number of suicides on the rise, particularly for veterans, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs is striving to provide resources through VA medical centers and other organizations both to prevent suicide and to help when a suicide occurs. Listed below are a few of these resources for veterans and their families:
Suicide Prevention Coordinators
Each VA medical center has a Suicide Prevention Coordinator to provide Veterans with the counseling and services they need. As appropriate, callers to the Veterans Crisis Line are referred to their local Suicide Prevention Coordinator.
Together We Can: Suicide Prevention Information for Veterans, Their Families, and Caregivers
This is a series of in-depth information for Veterans, their families, and caregivers about suicide risks and protective factors. Backed by research, this series provides practical information and steps that family members can take to Be There for a Veteran in their lives. Topics include:
- Connection and Sense of Purpose
- Help Is Available for Your Emotional Pain
- Coping With a Suicide Loss
- Talking to Children Who Have Been Affected by Suicide or an Attempted Suicide of Someone They Know
- Safe Home Environment
- Staying Safe on Prescription Opioids
Visit MakeTheConnection.net to hear Veterans’ candid descriptions of dealing with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. A variety of Veterans — men and women, younger and older — talk about their emotions, actions, symptoms, and what they did to get on a path to recovery.
Family members and friends who are seeking care or services for a Veteran can call VA’s Coaching Into Care national telephone service at 888-823-7458. Licensed psychologists and social workers help each caller find appropriate services at a local VA facility or elsewhere in the community.
Family members are often able to tell when a loved one is in crisis because they know that person best. If you think a loved one is suicidal, you may be feeling scared and helpless — but there are ways you can help. This guide will help you recognize when someone is at risk for suicide and understand the actions you can take to help. (Developed by the Rocky Mountain MIRECC)
This toolkit connects former members of the Guard and Reserves, their families, and their providers with mental health and suicide prevention resources available through VA and in the community.
Information and Support After a Suicide Attempt
A VA Resource Guide for Family Members of Veterans (English/Spanish), this guide provides Veterans and their families with informational and support resources. It contains information on self-care, care for others (particularly children), and care for the suicide attempt survivor. (Developed by the Rocky Mountain MIRECC)
ACE (“Ask,” “Care,” “Escort”) summarizes the steps that Veterans and their family members and friends can follow to take an active role in suicide prevention. The VA ACE card is a pocket guide supported by the VA ACE brochure, which provides more in-depth information. (Developed by the Rocky Mountain MIRECC)
Reducing Firearm & Other Household Safety Risks for Veterans and Their Families
This brochure provides Veterans and their loved ones with clear guidance on how to safely store medications and firearms when not in use.
For more resources, see https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/resources.asp
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