I personally struggled with depression and suicide during my rocky transition out of the military. I nearly became a statistic had it not been for the network of people that helped me break through the hopelessness and disconnection that that so often leads to suicide. I was fortunate to have a network of friends and loved ones because some don’t or at least believe they don’t.
Suicide affects all people and some groups like veterans and farmers are disproportionately affected by this problem. Veterans and farmers alike are facing an increase in suicide rates.
September is Suicide Awareness Month and we at DVF would like to remind everyone of some sobering facts:
22 veterans a day commit suicide and we are losing four times as many Post 9/11 veterans to suicide than in combat engagements. Farmers are also facing a crisis, saddled with increased debt, looming bankruptcies, competition from large conglomerates (big Ag) and uncertainty due to shifting local, national, and international political climates they have a suicide rate 3.5 times higher than the general population and are among the most likely to die by suicide, compared to other occupations. DVF exists at the intersection of military veterans and farming, and we care deeply about both groups. In these trying times, we want to remind people that suicide is a problem, and focus some attention on our military veterans and farmers.
This is sobering information to digest. Those of us who’ve served, those of us who love someone who has served, and those of us who have lost someone to suicide know this is not a challenge to back away from or ignore. We all know someone who may have struggled either during their service, post-deployment, during their transition back to civilian life, or in their civilian life.
If you are concerned about someone, reach out to them. If you feel alone or disconnected you are not alone, there is a network out there for everyone, including you. We would like to encourage anyone feeling like suicide is the only option to reach out. There are around the clock suicide prevention hotlines (1-800-273-8255 Press 1) staffed by veterans who want to help. This is a National suicide Hotline and anyone can call the number. There are services available through your local faith based or community organization and of course there’s the Veterans Administration.
If you’re struggling with feeling disconnected we would like to encourage you to look at our therapeutic reintegration program as part of your journey.
DVF Board Member
US Army Veteran
Local resource finder: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/local-resources
Farmer crisis center: https://farmcrisis.nfu.org
Farmer Resource Network: https://farmerresourcenetwork.force.com/FRN/s/