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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #SuicidePrevention: How Can You Get Involved?

#Suicide is one of the most challenging societal issues of our time, and sadly, one that affects those who served our Nation at alarming rates. For #Veterans, the #suicide rate is 1.5 times higher and the #female #Veteran #suicide rate is 2.2 times higher than the general population.

There is good news: #suicide is preventable and working together, we can create change and save lives.

On March 5, 2019, President Trump signed Executive Order 13861 establishing a three-year effort known as the President’s Roadmap to Empower #Veterans and End a National Tragedy of #Suicide (PREVENTS). Under the leadership of The White House and VA, the PREVENTS Office and cabinet-level, interagency task force were created to amplify and accelerate our progress in addressing #suicide.  The roadmap was released on June 17, 2020.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

In July, PREVENTS launched a centerpiece of the initiative: the Nation’s first public health campaign focused on #suicideprevention, REACH. This campaign is for and about everyone because we all have risk and protective factors for #suicide that we need to recognize and understand.  REACH provides the knowledge, tools, and resources that we need to prevent #suicide by educating ourselves so that we can REACH when we are in need – so that we can REACH  to those who feel hopeless. REACH empowers us to reach beyond what we have done before to change the way we think about, talk about, and address emotional pain and suffering.

As a member of the VA community, you are in a position to REACH out to #Veterans who may be at risk during this difficult  time. We all need support – sometimes we need more.

How can you get involved?

Take the PREVENTS Pledge to REACH: Make a commitment to increase awareness of #mentalhealthchallenges  as we work to  prevent #suicide for all #Americans. Visit wearewithinreach.net to sign the pledge and challenge your friends and colleagues to do the same. PREVENTS is planning a month-long pledge drive during September, #SuicidePreventionMonth. Please join us!

#Veterans can also help lead the way as we work to change the way we think about, talk about and address  #mentalhealth and #suicide. #Veterans can give us their perspective and provide guidance as we reach out to those in need. To that end, the PREVENTS Office is launching a first-of-its kind, national survey on Sept. 2, 2020, that will give us invaluable feedback from #Veterans and other stakeholders, including #Veterans Service Organizations, #Veterans’ families and community organizations.  The survey will help us learn what are our #Veterans’ most pressing needs. In addition, the answers we receive will help us understand how Veterans want to receive important information on #mentalhealthservices and #suicideprevention.

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