We know the holidays can be hard — we're here to help

Elizabeth Howe
December 07, 2018 - 10:17 am

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

The holidays can be a particularly difficult time to get through — especially if you feel like you're going through them alone. But you're not alone. Connecting Vets and countless veteran support organizations are here to help.

"This can be a time of year that's difficult. Generally, people are around family, and if you don't have family or friends or a supportive network, it can feel lonely," said Melissa Bryant, chief policy officer from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "We highly encourage people to reach out — especially if you're feeling yourself becoming overwhelmed by those feelings around the holidays."

Bryant has been at the forefront of IAVA's battle against veteran suicide for years. Year-round, she works with legislators to raise awareness and develops effective, life-saving resources to offer to veterans in crisis like IAVA's Rapid Response Referral Program

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And IAVA is far from the only organization that offers these resources. We populate our Connecting Vets Find Help | Mental Health page all year, keeping it updated with new resources we come across — and the list continues to grow. 

"Let's do those buddy checks over the holidays just like you did in the unit," said Bryant. "If you know someone who's not going home for the holidays, reach out to them. Sometimes it's just a simple matter of letting people know that you know that they're there — letting them know that there is someone else that cares about them and their wellbeing. And if you're having a hard time, just know that it's okay to not feel okay during the holidays. Know that you're not alone."

If you’re a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, there are helpful, qualified VA responders standing by to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

VA Crisis Line call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1. 

Veterans, troops or their families members can also text 838255.


Suicide Prevention

About Face is produced by the VA’s National Center for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and features informational videos and real stories of veterans dealing with PTS.

Department of Veteran Affairs provides a 24 hour veteran crisis line, self-check quiz and other medical resources for veterans who might consider or have considered suicide.

Headstrong  provides post-9/11 military veterans with free mental health care that works.

Mission 22 aims to spread awareness of suicide in the veteran community with their #Mission campaign.

National Alliance to End Veteran Suicide operates multiple retreat projects and small groups for veterans and their families.

National Alliance on Mental Illness is dedicated to connecting veterans with government and non-governmental agencies that can help them work through any mental health issues they might be facing.

Stop Soldier Suicide empowers the military community and their families by providing free mental health resources and TBI/PTS assistance.

The Soldiers Project provides free and confidential counseling and treatment to service members and their families.

Trauma and Resiliency Resources Warrior Camp is a free week-long treatment for veterans who are dealing with the trauma of moral injury. 

Visit the Connecting Vets Find Help | Mental Health for additional resources including retreats, service animals, and PTS support.