Depression and Suicide Risk for Veterans

By Linda Evans Shepherd

If you are concerned about a military veteran in your life, you need to know more about depression and suicide risk for veterans.

According to the Veteran’s Crisis Line, there are several depression and suicide indicators including: 1.) Feeling sad most of the time; 2.) Trouble eating or sleeping; 3.) Feeling anxious or  agitated; 4.) Neglecting personal welfare; 4.) Deteriorating physical appearance; 5.) Withdrawing from friends, family, and society; 6.) Sleeping all the time; 7.) Losing interest in things they once cared about like  hobbies, work, or school; 8.) Frequent and dramatic mood changes; 9.) Expressing feelings of excessive guilt or shame; 10.) Feelings of failure or decreased performance; 11.) Feeling that life is not worth living; 12.) No sense of purpose; and 13.) Feeling desperate, like there is no solution or  way out of their problems.

Additional suicidal indicators from the Veteran’s Crisis Line include:

  • Performing poorly at work or school
  • Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities—seemingly without thinking
  • Showing violent behavior such as punching holes in walls
  • Getting into fights or self-destructive violence
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Putting affairs in order or making out a will
  • Seeking access to firearms, pills, or other means of harming oneself
If reading these lists has heightened your concerns, Web MD suggests that, “You can take steps to prevent a suicide attempt. Be willing to listen, and help the person find help. Don’t be afraid to ask “What is the matter?” or bring up the subject of suicide. There is no evidence that talking about suicide leads to suicidal thinking or suicide. Remove all firearms from the home, or lock firearms and bullets up in different places. Get rid of any prescription and nonprescription medicines that are not being used.”

The Veteran’s Crisis Line suggests, “If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran who is showing any of the above warning signs, please call the Veterans Crisis Line by calling call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, or  chat online , or send a text message today to  838255.”

To learn more about depression and suicide risk for veterans, and find out what to do, watch:

The Veteran’s Crisis Line is open to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

 

Help for Suicidal Veterans

By Linda Evans Shepherd

If you are a struggling veteran, you don’t have to struggle alone.  The VA’s Veteran’s Crisis Line has answered more than half-a-million calls made from veterans of all ages and circumstances.

Many of the responders are veterans themselves and understand what military servicemen and women, and their families and friends, have been through and the challenges veterans of all ages and service areas face.

In addition they have created a series of videos that encourage veterans to call, including the one below:

Help for Suicidal Veterans

PLEASE NOTE: If you are a vet who is depressed or in danger of harming yourself or others, contact Veteran’s Crisis Line or call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Please comment here to let us know what you think of the video.

Dogs Help Stop Suicide in Military Veterans

By Linda Evans Shepherd

Dogs Help Stop Suicide in Military Veterans

Many of our veterans are returning home with Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) and are in danger of losing their lives to suicide.  So, could it be that a wagging tail could help stem the tide of this heartbreaking loss of life?  Yes. Dogs help stop suicide in military veterans. According to Web MD, pets have the power to improve mood and to provide unconditional love.

Alan Entin, PhD, a psychologist in Richmond, Va is quoted in the Web MD article saying,

“Dogs, in particular, are always glad to see you,” he notes. “When you are feeling down and out, the puppy just starts licking you, being with you, saying with his eyes, ‘You are the greatest.’ When an animal is giving you that kind of attention, you can’t help but respond by improving your mood and playing with it.”

Entin added, “Having a pet takes the focus off the owner’s problems, Entin says, since having a pet is a commitment–you need to feed and care for the pet. “When people have a pet in the house, it forces them to take care of another life,” Entin says. With the focus outward, he says, the pet owner may not dwell on their depressed mood as much.”

Vets adopting pets is a great solution for the animals too as 6 to 8 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year, simply because they need a home.

To see the power of a dog in a vet’s life, check out the video below:

Video of How Dogs Help Stop Suicide in Military Veterans

Pets can be found in shelters and can even be what the doctor orders via prescription.  Also organizations exists, like Pets for Vets, to help military veterans reclaim normalcy in their lives through companion dogs.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are a vet who is depressed or in danger of harming yourself or others, contact Veteran’s Crisis Line or call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

See related article, Finding God Through Your Dog from Finding God Daily.