November 11, 2022 Blog
Honoring Our Veterans
We at the Alliance extend our deepest appreciation for each and every individual who has risked their life in service to this country. We also want to honor those who carry challenges home with them.
Veterans experience alarmingly high rates of PTSD, anxiety, and depression and the numbers are only increasing. On average, 17 to 20 veterans die by suicide every day and approximately two-thirds of them do so by firearm.
The fact of the matter is, guns are used in 60 percent of suicide attempts because they are more fatal than other available options. And for our veterans, that statistic increases to 70 percent.
Every year, about 6,000 veterans die by firearm suicide.
Suicide is a complex and heavily stigmatized conversation. And we understand that it can feel daunting to broach the topic. But we need to peel back these layers of discomfort in order to show up for the millions struggling.
It has been proven time and time again that isolation leads to an increase in depression and can place someone at a higher risk of self-injury. It may seem small, but we encourage you to pick up the phone and reach out to the veterans in your life and ask them how they’re doing. One phone call does have the power to change someone’s outlook on themselves and their well-being. We’ve seen it happen.
We also encourage you to find moments to discuss safe storage with the gun owners in your life. Safely storing firearms–locked, unloaded, and separate from ammo–puts a meaningful barrier between temporary emotion and potentially irreversible action. A properly stored firearm drastically decreases one’s chance of intentional and unintentional self-injury. In Washington state, as well as many others across the country, voluntary waivers and Extreme Risk Protection Orders are additional tools that can be used to temporarily secure firearms from individuals experiencing mental health emergencies. You can learn more about those lifesaving tools here.
We believe the best way to honor our veterans is with action. Join us in this lifesaving work today.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please connect with the free and confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline At 988. Press 1 to be connected with the Veterans Crisis Line.
– Tori Muzyk is the Digital Communications Manager at the Alliance.