Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, as part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) designation of September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, is urging veterans in New Mexico to seek help if they are having thoughts of taking their own life.
“Veterans need to know that there is help available—right now,” said Governor Lujan Grisham. “No one should suffer alone, and no one has to. It’s our turn to serve you; you have sacrificed for us, defended us, and we owe you everything.”
New Mexico Department of Veterans Services (DVS) Secretary Judy Griego is also asking for assistance from family or friends of a potential at-risk veteran.
“If you suspect someone close to you is having suicidal thoughts, talk to them–find out if everything is OK,” said Secretary Griego. “If what you see or hear raises a red flag in your mind, do everything you can to get them to seek help. If they resist, you may have to do it for them.”
According to updated data from the VA, twenty veterans a day take their own life. Of these 20, fourteen veterans have never seen the VA for behavioral counseling and help.
The VA operates a toll-free national Veterans Crisis Line which a veteran or friend or family member of a veteran can call…24-hours a day/7-days a week, 365 days a year…for free, confidential immediate help: 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1. Veterans or friends/family members can also text to 838255.
The VA also operates a “live” online chatroom: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/chat
Help Here in New Mexico
The Emergency Room at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque is also available for immediate assistance 24/7/365 days a year.
For more information about suicide treatment help at the Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque,, contact New Mexico VA Health Care Services Public Affairs Officer Paula Aragon at firstname.lastname@example.org or (505) 265-1711 ext. 6495
Learn the warning signs of suicide, found on the Veterans Crisis Line website at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/education/signs-of-crisis.
Watch the free S.A.V.E training video at https://psycharmor.org/courses/s-a-v-e/ to equip yourself to respond with care and compassion if someone you know indicates they are having thoughts of suicide.
The VA has a Social Media Safety Toolkit: https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/docs/OMH-074-Suicide-Prevention-Social-Media-Toolkit-1-8_508.pdf tolearn how to recognize and respond to social media posts that may indicate emotional distress, feelings of crisis or thoughts of suicide.