Suicide Prevention Resources For Military & Veterans
With 498 service member suicides in 2019 according to the Defense Department, the U.S. Military as a whole has made it their mission to make that number more manageable. Service member suicides have surpassed the national average year after year as reported by Military Times, making mental health and addiction support resources more necessary.
With online resources, call-in services, and face-to-face support groups, there is always a way to reach out and get the help that is needed.
List of Suicide Prevention Resources
Military Crisis Line
Military Crisis Line is a call, text, and online 24/7 crisis support resource for all veterans and active-duty service members. Once contact is made, the trained responder will work with you to ensure the safety of all involved and help you in any way they can. Even if the crisis does not involve thoughts of suicide, the responder will always listen to what you decide to share with them in an effort to assist. After the call, text, or online conversion, the responder will then connect you with a local medical center to make sure continued support is provided.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
The VA’s online programs provide resources that cover mental health and addiction. By offering links to find a local mental health person of contact, facilities in the surrounding area, and health programs or support groups, the VA is able to help anyone, anywhere. Additionally, the VA provides resources for people who may be in contact with veterans or service members in crisis such as university professors and family members.
7 Cups of Tea allows people to have a conversation with trained volunteers and paid professionals at no cost. Holding scheduled online group sessions daily, as well as 24-hour one-on-one conversations with real people, all service members or veterans are able to get anonymous help covering a range of issues they may be experiencing.
Smart Recovery is another free online resource for addiction and recovery support. Once registered, the service member or veteran is able to attend over 40 weekly recovery meetings ranging from eating or mood disorders to substance abuse. With military-specific forums, the active duty service members and veterans are able to talk to people who are in a similar line of work.
Real Warriors offers resources for suicide prevention, addiction recovery, and a great range of other trials that the service member or their family might encounter. With Real Warriors, people are able to obtain the prevention tools they need to better support their families and community all in one place.
Using these resources, individuals, as well as families and professional groups are able to understand the causes and risk factors associated with poor mental health and substance abuse.
Additional Underlying Symptoms for Military
Along with the non-military related risk factors such as stress, poor sleeping habits, and misusing drugs and alcohol, service members often have underlying symptoms that are overlooked as well.
Serving in combat or a similar capacity, regardless of duration, can contribute to being a major risk factor that the service members experience. Due to an unusual amount of physical and mental stress, service members and veterans are more likely to abuse substances in order to alleviate the trauma that is not seen, such as traumatic brain injuries or PTSD.
Social Distancing Presents New Challenges
Social distancing this year due to the worldwide pandemic is causing people to feel more alone than usual. The inability to see friends or co-workers on a normal basis like before is affecting people across the world. Using online support groups, VA hospitals, and staying connected with family and loved ones is a great way to stay positive and helps alleviate the feeling of isolation.
All branches of the military, including the National Guard and Coast Guard, are working to ensure that mental health topics are spoken about just as easily “as we talk about physical fitness, marksmanship, training and education,” reported Military.com.
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About the author
Kellie is a military spouse currently residing in Japan. She acquired her bachelors degree in Communications from the oldest private military college in the United States, Norwich University.