BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — This September, throughout Suicide Prevention Month, Beckley VAMC is offering events and resources to help Veterans who are struggling.

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Ad Council have created an ongoing national campaign: “Don’t Wait. Reach Out,” in addition to other local resources that are being offered.

The public service advertisements first released in 2021, direct audiences to VA.gov/REACH, which is a website created to help Veterans get the available resources that they need.

“Raising awareness about suicide prevention brings education to our communities so people can effectively and confidently help Veterans who may be in crises. Suicide is a heavily stigmatized and sensitive subject, and VA wants to break down those dangerous barriers to help save lives,” said Public Affairs Officer Sara Yoke.

Beckley VA Medical Center is partnering with Active Southern West Virginia to host a community walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention.

The walk is on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 2:00 P.M. at Little Beaver State Park and is opened to the public. The Park is located at 1402 Grandview Rd., Beaver, WV. Attendees should park at the lot at the main entrance, and then meet at the Pavilion at the Welcome Center.

“We are grateful to the many organizations across the country that are doing the important on-the-ground work to reach and support Veterans in their local communities. Our message to Veterans, and those who support them, is Don’t Wait, Reach Out. Asking for help isn’t always easy, but Veterans are trained to do hard things,” said Dr. Matt Miller, Executive Director, VA Suicide Prevention.

In 2019, according to the 2021 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, the suicide rate among Veterans was 52% higher than non-Veteran adults in the U.S. Suicide can be interpreted differently because of how complex of a situation it is. Certain stressful life events such as divorce or job loss can be risk factors. Beckley VAMC offers the available resources to support Veterans across a wide range of life challenges, before these problems become overwhelming and life threatening.

Beckley VAMC’s efforts support the Veteran Affair’s 10-year strategy to end Veteran suicide through a extenisve, public health approach. According to Veteran Affair’s 2021 National Suicide Prevention Annual Report:

  • Although the Veteran suicide rate significantly and meaningfully decreased in 2019, the suicide rate among Veterans in 2019 was 52.3% higher than for non-Veteran U.S. adults. This is a decrease from its previous high of greater than 60%, but much more work remains.
  • Firearms were involved in 69.2% of Veteran suicides in 2019, compared to 47.9% of non-Veteran adult suicides.

Everyone can be part of the solution. By checking in with the Veterans that remain in their life, they can be encouraged to reach out if they are desperate for help.

Please visit VA.gov/REACH to download and share social media content to help spread the word.

In addition to hosting the community Suicide Prevention Awareness Walk throughout Suicide Prevention Month, Beckley VAMC also offers assistance for Veterans all year round.

You can learn more by visiting https://www.va.gov/beckley-health-care/ and www.facebook.com/VABeckley .

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention, which is always available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call Dial 988 then Press 1, text 838255, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.