ST. GEORGE — A report from CNN said, “Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That’s a suicide every 65 minutes. As shocking as the number is, it may actually be higher. The figure, released by the Department of Veterans Affairs in February, is based on the agency’s own data and numbers reported by 21 states from 1999 through 2011. Those states represent about 40 percent of the U.S. population. The other states, including the two largest (California and Texas) and the fifth-largest (Illinois) did not make data available.”
Putting this number, this statistic, out there creates intense feelings of helplessness and concern for most folks. Questions like, “What can I do?” “How can we get this lowered or taken care of?” and “Isn’t there something the government can do about this?” are among those most frequently asked. The answer to all three is what most folks feel equally uncomfortable with: “You have to talk about it!”
A large percentage of suicide candidates don’t talk about it, and a lot of friends, family and loved ones of suicides don’t ask about it when they recognize that something is going, or has gone, wrong.
How do you talk about it? “What’s up?” is a starting point. You may need to go into what you’ve noticed, actions you’ve seen that are uncharacteristic or a gradual withdrawal from life and even giving things away. What you need to know is that this contest is for all of the marbles; don’t leave any efforts, tricks or tactics to get through to the person on the table!
See helplines and other contacts that may assist under resources below.
Veteran Stand Down event
On Oct. 17 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be a “Veteran Stand Down” at Switchpoint, 948 N. 1300 West in St. George.
A stand down event is an operation designed to support and assist homeless and unemployed veterans by providing health screenings, dental screenings, mental health screenings, clothing, showers, laundry facilities, food and other essential services.
In order to sidestep any hesitancy veterans may feel about coming in, the operation will be operated on an honor basis; no identification is necessary to prove eligibility, but as some of the items being given out require distribution only to veterans, you may be asked if you are a veteran.
Participants can get showers, hygiene items and have an opportunity to have their laundry cleaned and dried. Participants can receive breakfast and dinner at Switchpoint. In addition to the medical, mental health and dental consults, there will also be a veteran service officer available to assist with compensation and pension claims and other questions and issues regarding available veteran benefits.
A Veterans Affairs employee will also be available to assist veterans in enrolling in the Veterans Health Administration program.
This event is put together by the City of St. George’s Mayor’s Veteran Advisory Council.
- Switchpoint Community Resource Center | 948 N. 11300 West, St. George | Telephone 435-627-4663
- St. George Vet Center | 1664 S. Dixie Drive, Suite C-102, St. George | Telephone 435-673-4494 Or 877-927-8387 | Web page
- Southwest Behavioral Health 24-hour emergency phone 435-634-5600
- Southwest Behavioral Health 24-hour emergency toll-free phone 1-800-574-6763
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- REACH4HOPE website
- Southwest Behavioral Health Center website
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Southwest Utah Chapter website
- Veterans Aware: Upcoming opportunities for vets, military personnel
- Southwestern Utah’s high suicide rates; prevention: What do you say to a loved one?
- Veterans Choice Program delays care
- Utah Honor Flight reception gives veterans a hero’s welcome
- ‘Soldiers’ Stories’ honors veterans in DOCUTAH’s first 3-D film
- Local veterans take trip of a lifetime; community homecomings planned
- Planned Vietnam veterans monument finds a home; additional funding sought
- Governor signs 5 suicide prevention bills
- Veterans gather, check hearts, share stories; STGnews Videocast
- Veterans Aware: What you can’t know about people
Email: [email protected]