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Why Veterans Should Never Leave Home Without This Card

Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

You wouldn’t leave home without your wallet, your money, your identification card. You wouldn’t leave home without credit cards.

American Express put out a commercial in the 70s — “don’t leave without it,” meaning your credit card.

The Veteran Crisis Line card is just as important. We are in the midst of a crisis of our veterans dying by suicide. Around 22 vets die by suicide every day. That is 22 too many.

If you’re a veteran, your life matters.

Now, it is time to say “don’t leave home without your crisis card.”

If you’re a veteran struggling with feelings of despair and hopelessness, you are not alone. Ask for help. Know the warning signs of a crisis: Thinking of death, self-destructive behavior, isolation, hopelessness, anxiety, rage, and increased alcohol or drug use.

Know the resources available to you. You are not alone; there are people ready to help, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Wounded Warrior Project Talk, IAVA Rapid Response, Veterans Affairs, Veteran’s Crisis Line and the Long Island Crisis Center.

All of these resources have professionals looking to help and keep you safe.

About a decade ago, after my discharge from the service, I was in a dark place. I was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), experienced loss of a child and my marriage ended.

I did not know what to do. I was facing another “war,” but this one was in my own head. It took me a long time to seek help.

Reaching out to my vet community was the best thing I could have done for myself. Ask for help. You’re a veteran or a combat war hero, but you are also a person. Your life matters.

Some of you may not know the meaning of what a semicolon tattoo represents. Those who have a semicolon tattoo are making a bold statement of their experience with depression and suicidality.

A semicolon is a symbol used to represent continuation — when a story could have ended. For those who have a tattoo, it represents the decision to live.

Be aware.

Keep hope alive.

Do not be afraid; do not let your pride stand in your way.

Don’t leave home without it; your card is a lifeline to resources and hope.

I won’t leave home without mine, so neither should you.

Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

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