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The program will destigmatize asking for mental health support, provide peer-to-peer support and resources, and educate everyone on how they can Be the One.
Today, the No. 1 issue facing the veteran community is suicide, according to the National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report. It is estimated that between 17 and 22 veterans or servicemembers take their lives each day. That’s more than 6,000 annually. The rate of suicide for veterans is more than 50% higher than that of non-veteran adults. As the Global War on Terrorism continues, there will be more veterans facing mental-health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
At its core, The American Legion is activating a national platform to reduce the rate of veteran suicide. The Be the One campaign will:
- Destigmatize asking for mental health support, creating opportunity for those with mental health issues to speak freely and get the support they need.
- Provide peer-to-peer support and resources in local communities.
- Deploy FDA-approved therapeutics for veterans to identify issues and find resources for support.
I’m a veteran. What can I do to support this initiative?
While this program is designed to help all veterans, we know that everyone responds differently to stresses, have different life experiences and have varying results in types of treatment. However, the following are guidelines intended to provide help before a crisis situation develops. The American Legion encourages you to Be the One to:
- Talk with others about how you are feeling.
- Ask for help when you know you need it.
- Know there are millions of people ready to help you.
- Remember your family and friends care.
I’m a spouse, partner, family member, caregiver, friend of a veteran, or interested civilian. What can I do to support this initiative?
The stigma associated with mental health issues is a barrier to veterans seeking assistance. They fear loss of their job, think they can handle their situation themselves, or don’t believe others can understand their situation. Family members may be the first to recognize the signs that their loved one needs help, but they may lack the knowledge of how to approach the situation. If you have a family member, friend, business associate or have another connection with someone who is a veteran, The American Legion encourages you to Be the One to:
- Ask veterans in your life how they are doing.
- Listen when a veteran needs to talk.
- Reach out when a veteran is struggling
American Legion posts will be instrumental in the success of this campaign. They have the power to foster unity and camaraderie, and get support quickly to veterans in crisis. In non-emergency situations, posts can also:
- Educate members, other veterans and civilians about the campaign.
- Display resources at your post or in your community.
- Share events or success stories on the legiontown.org platform.
Yes, there is a brochure in development now that will be available for a free download soon. Check back for more information.
Keep checking in for new resources, stories and other information at legion.org/betheone. You can also sign up to receive email about new announcements.
If you are a veteran in crisis, resources are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:
- Call 988 and press 1
- Text 838255
- Visit the VA Crisis Line website