As Veterans Day gets closer, people honor veterans like yourself. You’re not looking for any special treatment, but you deserve to be recognized for your service and sacrifice for this nation.
Sadly, Veterans Day can also remind people of the dark side of military service. Veterans have a higher risk of self-harm and suicide, and this holiday can stir up old memories — including the bad ones. If you are a veteran (or one is part of your family), read on to learn how you can help. But if you are having suicidal thoughts, call the Veterans Crisis Hotline at 800-273-8255.
Why Suicide Hurts More Than Just You
People with suicidal thoughts are not being irrational. The pain and depression can hurt so much that suicide seems like the only answer left. However, the Huffington Post shows several reasons why suicide is not the answer:
- Things change over time, so your current situation will not be the same in the days or weeks ahead.
- You can’t predict the future. If you fear something will happen, there’s no guarantee that it will.
- Negative thoughts can make it impossible to see the facts of your life objectively.
In addition, a suicide can devastate family and friends. This is not meant to make anyone feel guilty, and having suicidal thoughts can be very normal given how much a veteran has gone through. However, it’s worth noting that staying safe can help protect the ones you love.
How Veterans Day Can Make Things Worse
It’s well known that veterans are at a higher risk of suicide. Between the experience of being at war and the lack of support many face back home, it’s not unusual to have suicidal thoughts from time to time. In fact, veterans make up 18% of all suicide deaths in adults. This rate is increasing.
Even if you know that it’s not the answer, those thoughts can come back around Veterans Day. If you or another veteran suffers from PTSD, a day of remembrance like this can cause problems. The National Center for PTSD notes that this disorder is strongly tied to suicide attempts, and Veterans Day can lead to reliving the trauma.
How You Can Protect Yourself
If the problem gets worse around this national holiday, what can you do about it? By far, the best thing to do when you have any suicidal thoughts is to call the suicide hotline at 800-273-8255. Trained professionals are available 24/7 to help you when things get bad. You can also call 888-777-4443 for a suicide hotline especially for veterans. Everyone there is a veteran, so they understand what you are going through.
One way to help lower your risk of such thoughts is through meditation. These days, it’s not just something hippies do. Many doctors recommend regular meditation to produce a long-lasting, calming effect. Home Advisor explains how to create a room perfect for meditation, such as picking the right location, keeping it organized, and what decorations will help you meditate.
Do Something Now To Help
Veterans Day can be a great way to reminisce with old buddies, but it can also bring some bad memories to the surface. That’s why this holiday can be rough on veterans. To help stay safe, make sure you call a suicide hotline if you start having thoughts of self-harm. You should also look into more long-term solutions such as creating a meditation room at home. Because as explained above, suicide hurts a lot of people.
Bringing Back Brotherhood Contributor