VFW Auxiliary addresses an ongoing concern amongst military men and women

Auxiliary shares presentation on military suicide prevention

GRAFTON—The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Auxiliary presented a program at the Taylor County Senior Citizens Center on Tuesday.

September has been designated as Military Suicide Awareness Month by the VFW Auxiliary, because of the high number of veterans who commit suicide.

Auxiliary member Polly Forman presented the program at the center. During the presentation, blue teardrops were handed out for attendees to wear to show support.

She shared that this is an ongoing concern, and the VFW Auxiliary supports this issue by wearing a teardrop pin as a way to spread the word that there are symptoms to watch for, as well as to create awareness about places where help is readily available to those in need.

Forman expressed, “Being in the military can be stressful for those serving, as well as their families.”

She reported up to 30 percent of returning military personnel suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is a major contributor to suicidal thoughts.

“We can help those who have come home by making the public aware of the warning signs of suicide,” Forman informed.

Some of the signs include talking about suicide, obsessing about death, giving away treasured items, increased use of drugs or alcohol and withdrawing from friends and family activities.

These are only a few signs of suicidal thoughts. Remember veterans are good at hiding their emotional state. They are trained to endure.

During the month of September, everyone is asked to wear a “Suicide Awareness Teardrop” every day. This action will bring attention to that large number of suicides that occur with veterans in service and to veterans at home.

“We ask that you spread the word that there is help out there, and it only takes the courage of a warrior to ask for it,” Forman voiced.

If anyone has a loved one who may need help call the VFW National Home’s hotline, at 800-313-4200, or the National Suicide Prevention hotline 800-273-8255.

In addition, she also spoke to attendees about the terrorist attacks carried out on September 11, 2001.

“Yesterday makes 16 years since, September 11, 2001. 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out terrorist attacks against targets in the United States,” she said.

Over 3,000 people were killed during the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., including more than 400 police officers and firefighters, she stated.

“I know we all remember that day, and I am so sorry that happened. Thank you for listening and supporting our veterans,” she imparted.