The U-S Department of Veterans Affairs is rallying Nebraskans and those across the country for community support during Suicide Prevention Month. Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Director of Suicide Prevention Dr. Caitlin Thompson says they are encouraging everyone to use “The Power of 1” to support veterans in need. She urges everyone to be aware of the warning signs.
Dr. Thompson says, “When you notice significant changes in their behavior or in their mood. If you notice if someone seems more despondent or angrier than usual. If you notice if someone is sleeping more than usual or if they are drinking more alcohol than they usually are, those are the times you should reach out and say hey, I just want to let you know I’m concerned about you. Is there something going on?”
Dr. Thompson says some veterans are more at risk of suicide than others. She says veterans that have not been deployed have a higher rate of suicide than those who have been. Older veterans are more at risk of suicide. Men who are 50 years of age and older have a higher rate of suicide but that is true with the general population as well. She says they are also seeing higher suicide rates in younger veterans, those 26 years of age.
Dr. Thompson says family and friends are urged to contact the Veterans Crisis Line if they suspect problems. Help is available by using their hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Help is also available by online chat by logging on to VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat or through text-messaging at 838255.