September was Suicide Prevention Month, an annual campaign that draws attention to the national public health issue of suicide and the importance of suicide prevention. This September, VA leveraged its #BeThere campaign to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. While Suicide Prevention Month was one opportunity for us to educate Veterans, their families and the communities they live in about the suicide prevention resources available to them, it’s important to remember that suicide prevention awareness should last year-round. Our goal is to ensure that all Veterans, not just those who come to us for health care, know that they can reach out to VA for support whenever they need it.
“Year-round, VA collaborates with community groups, VSOs, health care providers, corporations, educational institutions, government agencies, public figures and others to educate and empower service members and Veterans, and their supporters to take action to help prevent suicide,” said Wendy Lakso, deputy director, partnerships, VA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. “We can all do something to help a Veteran who is going through a difficult time. Even seemingly small actions can have a huge impact. Each community across the country plays a role in supporting Veterans, but as an individual you may not know what you can do or where to start.”
It is essential to know that, as part of your community, you are in a position to help a Veteran who may be at risk for suicide. You don’t need special training