Petition comes as new National Suicide Hotline is launched and new report finds alarming number of active duty service members are committing suicide
(The Center Square) — Several groups are calling on Congress to pass a resolution commemorating a National Warrior Rolling Day to raise awareness and prevent suicide among active duty military and veterans.
They do so as a new national veterans hotline is launched and a new report reveals an alarming number of active duty service members are committing suicide.
Several groups in one letter urged Congress to co-sponsor and pass a resolution to declare the Sunday after Veterans Day “National Warrior’s Call Day,” which this year is November 13.
Signatories include a former CBO director, leaders of state and national think tanks and associations, among others.
“National Warrior Call Day implores all Americans – but especially those in the military community – to connect with someone who has worn or is currently wearing the uniform and let them know they care,” write -they. “The motto of the campaign is ‘make a call, take a call.’ This is specifically informed by the work of veterans service organizations in visiting major military installations and supporting our veterans for many years – particularly in the post-9/11 era.
The call to action was organized by Warrior Call, a project of the Troops First Foundation, and a network of active duty military veterans, veterans and their friends and families. Its president, Frank Larkin, former Navy SEAL and 40th Sergeant-at-Arms of the United States Senate, lost his Navy SEAL son to suicide.
Larkin told those struggling, “Committing suicide can end your pain and suffering, but suicide will only transfer your pain and suffering to your loved ones, friends and teammates – the people you care about most. heart and who care about you.
“You may feel like no one else understands your pain, the light is no longer visible in your dark place and the hope is not real,” but nothing could be further from the truth. did he declare.
According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, researchers have identified social isolation as “arguably the strongest and most reliable predictor of suicidal ideation, [suicide] fatal suicidal attempts and behaviors.
Calling a veteran or service member could save a life, Larkin said.
The request for congressional recognition of the coalition comes as the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline was launched on July 16, allowing people in crisis to dial 988 (and press 1).
It also came after a new analysis was published by Voice of San Diego, which found that young active duty military personnel are committing suicide at an alarming rate.
Active men between the ages of 17 and 25 are almost twice as likely die by suicide than their civilian peers; active women between the ages of 17 and 30 are more than twice as likely die by suicide like their civilian peers, according to the analysis.
Larkin also encourages those struggling to connect with others through Vets4Warriors.com and 1-855-838-8255.
More than 1.7 million veterans receive a range of mental health services through the US Department of Veterans Affairs, with an average of 17 veterans killing themselves per day in 2019, according to the VA.
Also in 2019, the suicide rate among veterans was 52.3% higher than that of non-veterans, according to a 2021 annual report on suicide prevention among veterans. report.
In 2018, 6,435 veterans committed suicide, according to a RAND Corporation report. It also found that from 2009 to 2021, suicide rates were consistently higher among veterans than among non-veterans.
Nearly two-thirds of veterans who commit suicide have had no contact with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Even so, the department’s budget has grown significantly, including a $497 million 2023 budget request for suicide prevention, which includes grants for community-based suicide prevention efforts, The Center Square previously reported. reported.
In addition to calling 988, those in need of assistance can also call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255 or chat at VeteransCrisisLine.net/ Cat.
Resolutions designating National Warrior’s Call Day have already been introduced into the Accommodation and Senate Last year.