September is Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide crosses all boundaries, including age, profession, gender, race and religion. In the military and Veteran communities, suicide claims hundreds of lives each year. It is for this reason that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) are launching “The Power of 1” this month.
“The Power of 1” campaign is based on the idea that just one small act can save the life of a service member or Veteran in crisis. Just one kindness, one person reaching out to another in need, could mean the difference between that person finding help instead of losing hope.
“The campaign emphasizes the effect that just one person, one conversation, or one act can have on the life of a Veteran or Service member by offering hope and opening the door to support,” said Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, Interim Under Secretary for Health. “It also is designed to spread the word about VA and DOD mental health resources and suicide prevention efforts.”
“The Power of 1” focuses on the small, everyday actions that can play a pivotal role in improving, and possibly saving, a Veteran’s life. During the month of September, the campaign is broadcasting across the country via television, radio and social media. The VeteransCrisisLine.net will also offer “The Power of 1” online, offering interactive tools that explain what the Veterans Crisis Line does, and how small acts make a difference.
The VA is also collaborating with community organizations, Veterans Service Organizations, and health care providers throughout Suicide Prevention Month. There will be 151 VA Medical Centers across the country hosting local events, sponsoring health fairs, and working with the DOD to help spread the word and prevent suicides among service members and Veterans.
The goal of Suicide Prevention Month, “The Power of 1” campaign, and this coalition of supporters is to encourage service members, Veterans and the people in their lives to educate themselves about suicide risk, identify warning signs, and learn the steps to take during a time of crisis.
The Veterans Crisis Line offers telephone support, as well as online chat and text-messaging services. This confidential support from specially trained and experienced responders is complimentary. Any concerned party can contact the Veterans Crisis Line at (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1), chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or send a text to 838255.
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Military Connection: “The Power of 1” By Debbie Gregory