Warning: This post contains language that may be triggering for some. If you or someone you know is at risk of harming themselves, please call 988.
We all have dates that have changed us.
February 1st, 2012.
The start of a new month.
It was a regular Wednesday in Fort Bliss, Texas, until I received a frantic phone call from a friend.
It was a call that changed my life.
We lost Debra to suicide.
Debra was amazing.
She had a dazzling smile and a laugh that brightened up a room. She also had this long gorgeous hair that I’d often playfully ask to borrow when she was ready to chop it off. She was one of those people you meet in a new duty station who makes you feel warm and welcomed.
The unfortunate reality is that suicide among service members, Veterans, and their families is a significant issue – a public health and national security crisis.
In fact, the rate of suicide among Veterans may be more than double what federal officials report annually because of undercounting related to drug overdose deaths and service record errors.
This pushes the Veteran suicide rate from about 17 to 44 Veterans a day.
More specifically, the largest category of overlooked deaths — about 60% of uncounted cases — concern drug overdoses.
In one state, overdoses may be a higher concern. In another, it might be firearms. Whether an accident or suicide, it doesn’t matter. We need prevention strategies. And more organizations like Blue Star Families that are committed to putting in the work necessary to make an actual impact.
Blue Star Families recently announced that it’s working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs through the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program (SSG Fox SPGP). This program focuses on reducing Veteran suicide through community-based prevention. And I’m honored to be a part of that work.
Additionally, Blue Star Families’ innovative pilot program, Blue Star Support Circles: Upstream Solutions to Crisis, will bring together military and Veteran supporters (family and friends) to decrease the suicide risk for Veterans and their supporters.
Suicide prevention takes a village. A community. Be part of the community to help reduce Veteran suicide with Blue Star Families.
Written By: Kimberly Gold, 2022-2023 Housing Insecurity DEPLOY Fellow