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Salisbury VA uses ‘#BeThere’ campaign to bring awareness to veteran suicide

In observance of Suicide Prevention Month, the Salisbury VA Health Care System is promoting awareness of its #BeThere campaign by encouraging community leaders, colleagues, and veterans’ families and friends to help prevent suicide by showing support for those who may be going through a difficult time.

Suicide is a complex national public health issue that affects communities nationwide, with more than 45,000 Americans, including more than 6,000 veterans, dying by suicide every year, the Salisbury VA said in a news release.

But suicide is preventable.

The Salisbury VA says it is using a community-driven approach to prevent suicide and find innovative ways to deliver support and care to the 20 million U.S. veterans whenever and wherever they need it.

“Suicide prevention is VA’s top priority as well as my own, but we know that we can’t do it alone,” said Joseph Vaughn, director of Salisbury VA Medical Center. “That’s why we need everyone in the community to get involved. This September, and all year, I encourage everyone to take a moment to be there for veterans in need. One act of thoughtfulness can make a big difference and may even save a life.”

In its news release, the Salisbury VA said people don’t need special training to prevent suicide. Everyone can play a role by learning to recognize warning signs, showing compassion and care to veterans in need, and offering support.

Here are some actions the Salisbury VA suggests anyone can take to #BeThere:

• Reach out to the veterans in your life to show them you care. Send a check-in text, cook them dinner, or simply ask, “How are you?”

• Educate yourself on the warning signs of suicide, found on the Veterans Crisis Line website.

• Watch the free S.A.V.E. training video to equip yourself to respond with care and compassion if someone you know indicates they are having thoughts of suicide.

• Check out VA’s Social Media Safety Toolkit to learn how to recognize and respond to social media posts that may indicate emotional distress, feelings of crisis or thoughts of suicide.

• Contact VA’s Coaching Into Care program if you are worried about a veteran loved one. A licensed psychologist or social worker will provide guidance on motivating your loved one to seek support.

Veterans in crisis, those having thoughts of suicide and those who know a veteran in crisis can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

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