The end of a relationship. Loss of a job. Housing instability. Feeling a loss of purpose. At some point, everyone will face a challenge. Some of those challenges may develop into a crisis. Recognizing a crisis in yourself or those you care about can help you know when to find support.
People cope with stressful situations in different ways. If you feel like you might be heading toward a crisis, VA or community-based services could help. Take a confidential, anonymous risk assessment to see if stress and depression might be affecting you.
Every Veteran is different, and many may not show any signs of intent to harm themselves. But some actions and behaviors can be a sign that they need help. Learn to recognize the signs of crisis so you can support a Veteran going through a difficult time.
You don’t have to be an expert to talk to a Veteran facing challenges. You just need to show genuine care and concern. Here are some things to remember:
Remind them you are there for them.
Listen more than you speak—don’t dominate the conversation.
Let them decide how much to share.
Make supportive and encouraging comments, don't ask invasive personal questions.
Don’t inject judgment or emotion in the conversation. Stay calm.
It’s okay to ask directly: “Are you thinking about taking your own life?”
Asking about thoughts of suicide doesn't increase their suicide risk.