Suicide prevention has become the Department of Veterans Affairs’ top priority. All former service members should have a safe place they can turn to if they are having a mental health crisis. This could mean urgent care at a Vet Center, VA emergency department, or the Veterans Crisis Line. Every suicide is a tragedy and is a public health epidemic in America. The suicide rate among adults has increased by 25% and is up over 30% among veterans. The VA is determined to provide lifesaving support and do everything they can to fix this crisis.

When veterans are put in contact with the right resources, it can help save their lives. Only six in every 20 veterans who commit suicide had received health care from the VA. It is crucial that more work is done to get our veterans the services and care they desperately need. The VA is the biggest provider of medical education in the U.S. They work with healthcare professionals and medical schools to help reduce suicide. By raising awareness of suicide prevention resources and tools, they can identify veterans at risk.

There are several misconceptions about Veterans and PTSD. After a traumatic event, trouble sleeping, unsettling memories, and increased jumpiness are extremely common. Without proper therapy and medication, these reactions won’t go away and worsen. Veterans are at a higher risk of PTSD due to being in combat situations, or military sexual trauma. Effective this year, all VHA medical centers are equipped to provide emergency stabilization care for former service members. This means they can receive mental health care for 90 days that includes residential, outpatient, or inpatient care. If they deem the health condition is related to an injury during service, they will be eligible for ongoing health coverage.

If you or someone you know is a veteran struggling with PTSD or a mental health condition, take action fast. If you are currently getting treatment, the VA has self-help tools to help you manage stress. You can connect with them on social media to stay up-to-date on treatment information or ask questions. The VA has email publications you can subscribe to including the Clinician’s Trauma Update, the PTSD Monthly Update, and the PTSD Research Quarterly which are free to download. Volunteers can join the PTSD Awareness campaign and help organize events that share information about PTSD.