Published: September 22, 2023
By: Lindsay Knight
The suicide rate among Veterans is a national tragedy. In 2022, an estimated 17 Veterans died by suicide every day. This is a rate that is more than twice the national average.
There are many factors that contribute to Veteran suicide, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and substance abuse. However, one of the most important factors is social isolation. Veterans who feel isolated and alone are more likely to contemplate suicide.
This is where peer support can make a difference. Peer support is when people who have shared experiences come together to provide support and understanding. For Veterans, peer support can offer a sense of belonging and connection that they may not be getting elsewhere.
One of the most effective peer support programs for Veterans is Blue Star Support Circles. Blue Star Support Circles are small groups of Veterans, family members, and friends who meet regularly to discuss mental health and suicide prevention. The groups are facilitated by trained professionals, and they provide a safe and supportive space for people to share their experiences and connect with others who understand what they are going through.
A recent study by Blue Star Families found that Veterans who participated in Blue Star Support Circles were significantly less likely to report suicidal thoughts or behaviors. The study also found that the groups helped to reduce social isolation and improve overall mental health.
The Blue Star Support Circles program is just one example of how peer support can help to combat veteran suicide. There are many other peer support programs available, and they can all make a difference. If you are a Veteran or the family member of a Veteran, please consider seeking out a peer support program. You are not alone, and there is help available.
Peer support can also help to combat the stigma associated with mental health in the military community. When Veterans see that their peers are open about their own mental health struggles, it can help to normalize these conversations and make it easier for others to seek help.
The Blue Star Support Circles program is a valuable resource for Veterans and their families. It provides a safe and supportive space for people to share their experiences and connect with others who understand what they are going through. The program has been shown to be effective in reducing suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and it can help to combat the stigma associated with mental health in the military community.
If you are a Veteran or a family member of a veteran, you to learn more about the Blue Star Support Circles program on the Blue Star Families website.
Together, we can make a difference in the fight against Veteran suicide.