I received a Facebook message over the weekend from Marine friend that I hadn’t heard from in months. “Do you have time to talk today?”
I looked at the time sent: 2:30 a.m. This couldn’t be good. No one wants to talk about podcast collaborations that early in the morning, and deep conversations usually come with this precursor message.
When we connected, he admitted he was depressed and wasn’t sure what to do. He was looking for my advice. I told him that letting someone know is an important first step.
His depression had been going on for about a year, and he was starting to experience suicide ideation. I began listing off a number of things I believed could help him. I recommended finding his local Vet Center, journaling, volunteering, getting involved with his Team RWB chapter, among other things. I reassured him that if none of those ideas helped, that I could connect him with a dozen more. I punctuated my list of helpful thoughts with the Veterans Crisis Line. I emphasized that the VCL should always be his first step when he finds himself in crisis, especially if he considers harming himself.
Before we hung up, I reassured him he could reach out to me whenever he needed to talk, and I reiterated my support for the VCL.