September is Suicide Awareness Month

Since September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, I wanted to take some time to urge everyone, veteran and civilian, to take your mental health seriously. Unfortunately, in our society, a stigma exists that discourages people from asking for help when they are in a crisis situation. What some people do not understand is that a mental health condition can be just as debilitating as a physical condition. If you broke your leg, you would certainly seek help from a medical professional, and it should be no different for a mental health condition. Actually, a mental health condition can be more dire than a physical injury because a person with a broken leg is not likely to attempt suicide due to the injury.

I encourage you to take your health seriously, inside and out. I encourage you to observe your loved ones and encourage them to take their health seriously also. According to the CDC, in 2013 there was the equivalent of 113 suicides per day in the United States. That is 113 too many. There are resources that we all can use to seek help when we need it. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (press 1 for veterans), text “Go” to 741741, or chat online at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx.
If you are with someone who you feel may try to hurt themselves, do not leave them alone! Please ask them directly if they are thinking of suicide and really listen to what they have to say. Even if they are not considering suicide but they are in crisis, encourage them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You may be the reason that they choose to live another day. Together we can work to reduce suicide.

Muscatine and Louisa County Veteran Affairs are looking for volunteers to drive veterans to and from the Veterans Affairs Hospital and Clinics in Iowa City and Coralville for medical appointments. The vehicle, fuel, and at least one meal are provided. Flexible scheduling is available. Please contact Jen at 563-262-4162 for more information.