Editorial Column: Help for Suicidal Veterans

CBS News

April 22, 2008 – Last night CBS News reported on internal emails written by top officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs that appear to show how the VA tried to cover-up the true risk of suicide among our nation’s military veterans.

However, it is important to note that there are many caring health care professionals at the agency who work extremely hard everyday to take care of veterans in need.

Veterans should know the VA does offer help. We recently spoke to some vets who say counseling sessions by the VA helped them better deal with some of their emotional struggles.

The VA also has a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline (1-800-273-TALK) for those who need someone to talk to. We encourage anyone who is feeling suicidal to reach out for help.

According to the VA’s website, (http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/) some suicide warning signs include:

• Talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
• Trying to get pills, guns, or other ways to harm oneself
• Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide
• Feeling Hopeless
• Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
• Acting in a reckless or engaging in risky activities
• Feeling trapped, like there’s no way out
• Saying or feeling there’s no reason for living
• Withdrawing from friends and family
• Anxiety, agitation, inability to sleep or excessive sleeping
• Dramatic mood swings
• Increased alcohol or drug use

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