As a member of several veterans groups on Facebook, I’ve noticed a very disturbing trend: There are entirely too many veterans out there who are becoming overwhelmed by life and just want to give up.
Some of the situations I see them in truly are horrible. Some are on the brink of losing their families, others a mere step away from being homeless and on the streets. I see too many female veterans fighting to overcome military sexual trauma, and the requirements they are trying to fulfill to get justice and closure at times are a burden too heavy for them to bear.
If I know someone who is an expert in the area they are dealing with, I always do my best to get them connected. But in the end, no matter how many hundreds of veterans post responses of support, I am still left wondering if that veteran was able to get the help he or she needed or if they did the unthinkable and hurt themselves.
It worries me because I long ago lost count of how many of our brothers and sisters are going through these tough times. Most are combat veterans struggling to find their place in civilian society. Others had something bad happen to them during their service that has left them scarred and broken.
While I can’t personally help every one of them as they are scattered across the nation, I do have a message for my fellow veterans who may think all hope is lost.
I’ve got your six. And so do the millions of veterans out there who at times have been in your shoes.
Hope is never lost as long as you have family willing to lend you the emotional support you need, and your fellow veterans will always stand up to be that family.
Remember, you are a part of the real 1 percent — that tiny fraction of the nation who was willing to lay down your life if needed for the sake of the rest. We don’t give up and we don’t quit, and we’re not going to let you, either.
If you, or someone you know, is going through a difficult time, please utilize the following numbers.
Military One Source: 800-342-9647
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
Central Counties Services (Temple): 800-888-4036
Fort Hood Army Substance Abuse Program (Suicide Prevention): 254-287-7575 or 254-287-5245
Keeyawnia Hawkins, Bell County Veteran Services Officer: 254-933-5915
Maureen Jouett, Bring Everyone in the Zone: 254-681-9112
Military Crisis Line: 800-273-8255, press 1
Fort Hood Chaplains: 254-287-CHAP
Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline: 800-984-8523
David A. BRYANT is an Army retiree and a military journalist for the Killeen Daily Herald. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7554.