A few months ago, a college friend of mine took his own life. He served multiple tours overseas with distinction. He came home, settled down, and struggled to find normalcy outside of combat. His passing made me think long and hard about the state of care for Veterans, stigmas for treatment, and the thing that everyone knew about,but few talked about: Suicide.
I feel I have taken a head-on approach to my treatment and therapy. With deliberate thought, I reasoned I should do the same for tackling this stigma: Raise awareness, call out problems with stigmas and therapies and hopefully make enough of a difference to prevent more suicides.
My logic is simple: If we can look at the root causes of these suicides, dismantle the stigma for help, and make treatment easier to access we can interdict and stop them.
If we address, treat, and stop severe PTSD which can lead to suicide, other Veterans along the PTSD spectrum will be more willing to seek help. If more severe cases enter treatment earlier and often, then less severe cases exit earlier and more frequently.
Over our lifetime, that means healthier Veterans, healthier families of Veterans, and a stronger America. (f#ck yeah)…(yes, I went there.)
To come full circle with the title: the tide truly raises all boats in the harbor. Awareness and prevention of Veteran suicide will help everyone who suffers in silence to get healthier faster. A bonus will convince those who maybe doubt that they need any help, that maybe a little professional help is a good thing.
So, what are you waiting for? Join Team Survivor on our walk May 4th. Help us smash this stigma and raise awareness. I set a personal goal of a team of 10. We are three away from that goal.
Or, if you can’t walk and donate your time, you can always donate something else. Thank you.