VASNHS highlights #BeThere campaign for veteran suicide awareness

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September is Suicide Prevention Month, a time where VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System stresses the importance of suicide prevention and connects veterans and their families with the resources they need.

With the stressors of 2020, VA is encouraging friends and family to #BeThere for veterans.

Every day, nearly 20 veterans or active duty service members take their own lives, but of those, about 14 are either not connected or have not received recent VA care. To help reach those veterans, VASNHS wants to raise awareness about how to recognize the signs and how to intervene through #BeThere.

“Suicide prevention is everyone’s business,” said VASNHS Chief of Staff Ramu Komanduri. “We can all play a vital role in suicide prevention by reaching out to someone who is exhibiting warning signs of crisis or suicide risk and by showing our support. Helping someone feel included can make a big difference during a challenging time. The #BeThere campaign is focused on simple yet impactful ways we can all reach out to and engage veterans.”

VASNHS encourages veterans and their loved ones to take action, start a conversation, and share available resources when the signs of suicidal ideation are apparent.

Take Action
Your support can give hope to a veteran going through a difficult time. This support includes:

• Direct veterans to appropriate resources, such as safe gun and medication storage, to work towards suicide prevention in your community.
• Normalize and speak openly about suicide with veterans. This does not make them want to die by suicide or plant those ideas—and it can reduce the stigma of suicide.
• Visit www.ReportingOnSuicide.org for important guidance on how to safely communicate about suicide.

Start the Conversation
Help prevent suicide by starting a discussion. Learn how to start the conversation at www.starttheconversation.veteranscrisisline.net. Ask someone if they are having thoughts of suicide and promote discussions about current life challenges, such as financial hardship or relationship strain.

Share Resources and Support
Suicide is preventable. If you know a veteran facing a tough time, there are resources that can help you provide hope and support. These include:

• S.A.V.E. Training: This online suicide prevention training video teaches you how to talk to Veterans who may be at risk for suicide https://psycharmor.org/courses/s-a-v-e/.
• Community Outreach Toolkit: This resource can help anyone host or participate in events to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention (https://www.va.gov/ve/docs/outreachToolkitPreventingVeteranSuicideIsEveryonesBusiness.pdf).
• Social Media Safety Toolkit: This guide includes best practices and sample posts for responding to social media content that may indicate that someone is in emotional distress.
• More resources can be found at www.BeThereForVeterans.com
• VASNHS also offers several local, in-person resources. All VASNHS sites of care provide same-day services for veterans with urgent mental health needs during regular business hours, as well as after-hours care in the Emergency Department at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

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