Atlanta, GA,
26
April
2019
|
05:13 PM
America/New_York

Five Ways To Help Prevent Veteran Suicide

Everyone should get involved in saving veterans' lives.

It’s a tragedy: Every day, 22 U.S. veterans take their own lives – a needless loss of 8,000 service members a year.

Too many veterans don’t get the help they need, but experts say every­one should get involved to help save a veteran’s life.

The Problem

Returning veterans may experience divorce, joblessness, homelessness and hopelessness.

The often-devastating effects of mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and post-traumatic stress (PTS), plus the loss of their military community support, can cause a downward spiral.

Symptoms of mTBI include head­aches and problems with balance, sleep, vision and memory. Emotional signs include depression and anxiety. But today’s treatment approaches and therapeutic technologies offer hope for veterans feeling overwhelming physical and emotional pain from these invisible wounds of war.

What You Can Do

1. Be observant about behavior changes. For many veterans, the physical symptoms of mTBI are not obvious. Be on the lookout for loss of interest in meaning­ful activities, personality changes, social isolation and substance abuse.

2. Reach out and spend time together. Let a veteran know he or she is not alone. Meet for coffee or go for a walk. Listen and encourage them to seek help.

3. Tell veterans and their families about helpful programs, including the SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center. Encourage caregivers, spouses and friends to seek help on behalf of a veteran.

The SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center has trans­formed the lives of more than 550 vet­erans and their families through an innovative program – with zero suicides. The program provides up to 12 weeks of intensive rehabilitation at no cost to the veteran. Therapy focuses on mild to moderate brain injury and psychological concerns of those who served in the U.S. military since September 11, 2001. Treatment plans are customized for each veteran’s needs. The program is open to all post-9/11 veterans, including those with other than honorable discharges.

 

Because of its intensive and compre­hensive therapy, rehabilitation and life coaching, SHARE has become a model for centers nationwide. Experts in working with veterans provide medical consultation, physical therapy, occu­pational therapy, speech and cognitive therapy, recreation therapy, case man­agement, neuropsychology, chaplaincy and counseling.

4. Volunteer or donate to organiza­tions battling the epidemic of veteran suicide.

5. Support fundraisers and events, such as the Shepherd’s Men Run. Annu­ally, a team of committed volunteers run seven days of half marathons in multiple states wearing 22-pound flak jackets—to increase awareness of treat­ment options and suicide prevention for veterans. Shepherd’s Men have raised millions for this heartfelt mission.

Learn More

Veterans and those who want to help can call 404-603-4314 or visit shepherd.org/share and shepherdsmen.com.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 935 inpatients, 541 day program patients and more than 7,300 outpatients each year.