Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: importance of social interaction during pandemic and how to be there for someone
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Throughout the week, Cheyenne Veteran Affairs Medical Center, F.E. Warren and Wyoming Air National Guard suicide prevention experts have been giving tips to the community for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. #BeThere and “Connect To Protect” are a couple phrases being used to show veterans and active duty military members that they do have help.
To close out the week, experts want the community to know that suicide prevention awareness doesn’t stop after this month and the importance of reaching out to people during the pandemic.
“With COVID, not getting out and not having that human interaction, is really impacting to most people,” said F.E. Warren 90th Missile Wing Violence Prevention Integrator, Suicide Prevention Program Manager, Rebecca Nordin.
“Many of the impacts of the pandemic have led to many individuals being in crisis, and one of the biggest risk factors that lead people to personal crisis, and/or crisis that might lead to thoughts of ending ones life, is the lack of social connection,” said Cheyenne VA Medical Center Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Linda Benson.
“The importance of just reaching out, maybe it’s virtually or maybe it’s on the phone, texting, checking in with people is critical right now and just making sure people are alright," said Nordin.
“Just listening. We have to be careful we don’t judge or try to give advice that we may not be qualified for. But listen with understanding, listen with caring,” said Benson.
“A lot of times people don’t ask that question because it’s such a scary question to ask. What do you do if the person says yes? So we may miss what they’re asking for. The reality is most people who are having warning signs or having those risk factors, don’t wanna die, but they don’t know how to ask for that help, and that’s why it’s so critical that if you don’t know how to ask that question, reach out to someone else, do something," said Nordin.
For active duty military and veterans, if you need help, you can call the military veterans crisis line at 1-800-273-8255.
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