What You Can Do
Showing your support can be as simple as sending a message. Your words could be exactly what a Veteran in crisis needs to hear, and our message generator can help you find the right words to start a conversation. For more ways to show your support, download our Suicide Prevention Month Toolkit.
Talking to a Veteran on the phone can create a real connection. Not only does open conversation help people feel less alone, but it also can give you a window into a Veteran’s experiences. Use these pointers to help steer the conversation:
- Validate the Veteran’s experience. Even if you can’t relate to what Veterans are going through, you can tell them you understand that they went through something difficult and show them you respect their feelings about it.
- Let the Veteran decide how much information to share. Supportive and encouraging comments, rather than invasive personal questions, will create a space for open communication and avoid putting a Veteran on the defensive.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the question. When you are concerned about suicide risk, it’s OK to ask people if they have ever thought about hurting themselves or taken actions to prepare for suicide. Asking questions about thoughts of suicide does not increase a person’s suicide risk, and the answers can help you determine the next steps to take.