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Learn to ‘Be There’ during Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Month and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wants to remind veterans and their loved ones through the Be There campaign that small actions can make a big difference to veterans experiencing difficult times.

The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain is spreading awareness of suicide prevention to veterans and their supporters and connecting them to the resources they need.

“It is very important that we recognize that we can all have an impact on the lives of others in need,” said Sharon Anastas, suicide prevention coordinator. “Asking the important questions and offering those resources can have a great impact in reducing veteran suicide.”

Be There suggests several simple actions that can help make a difference for a veteran, including:

— Learning about the warning signs of suicide, found on the Veterans Crisis Line website;

— Watching the free S.A.V.E. — Signs of suicide, Asking about suicide, Validating feelings, Encouraging help and Expediting treatment — training video to learn how to respond with care and compassion if someone indicates they are having thoughts of suicide;

— Contacting VA’s Coaching Into Care program where a licensed psychologist or social worker will provide loved ones with guidance for motivating veterans to seek support;

— Sharing stories of hope and recovery from VA’s Make the Connection;

— Reaching out to the veterans in your life to show them you care by sending a check-in text, cooking them dinner or simply asking, “How are you?”

For more information and resources, go to BeThereForVeterans.com.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

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