Twenty Veterans across all eras commit suicide each day. That is an ugly fact that breaks my heart every time I read it. September is Suicide Awareness Month. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is on a mission to end suicide among Veterans in communities across America. Approximately 14 of the 20 Veterans who die by suicide each day are not receiving care from the Veterans Health Administration. Reaching all Veterans to prevent suicide will take the entire community. One Veteran suicide is one too many.

Sometimes when we suspect a Veteran or Service Member in our lives may be going through a crisis, we are unsure how to help. We all have the power to take the first step, to reach out, to find time in the day to talk with the Veterans close to us to find out how they are doing. It takes only a moment and just one small act can start them down the path to getting the support they need.

Taking that first step with someone in crisis can prove daunting, but the Veterans Crisis Line offers support for those concerned about a loved one. One call, one chat or one text can open the door to hope. The VETERANS CRISIS LINE number is 1-800-273-8255 (press 1). Make sure you press 1 so the call gets routed to the VA counselors. This is for family members as well as Veterans and Active Duty Military.

Hines VA Hospital will be hosting an Art event on Thursday, September 21 from 9AM to 3PM. The location is the winter garden between Buildings 12 and 13. The pieces displayed will be an expression of what these losses mean to the artist

This event is being sponsored be the Hines Suicide Prevention Team. If you want further information, contact Morgan Woolley, LCSW at (708) 202-3519 or Jordan Wolf, LCSW at (708) 202-2805.

Remember that the simple act of being there can make all the difference in preventing suicide. Supporting the Veteran or Service Member in your life who is going through a difficult time doesn’t have to be complicated.

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