Hometown Heroes....Veterans Beware: New Year Resolutions Can Be Dangerous To Your Health

Let a Veteran know they are never alone.

According to the 2023 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report in 2021, which is the last update from the VA, 6,392 Veterans died by suicide, an increase of 114 suicides from 2020. This means that an average of 17.5 Veterans died by suicide each day in 2021.The age- and sex-adjusted suicide rate among Veterans increased by 11.6% from 2020 to 2021, if the 11.6% yearly increase over the past few years, remains constant, we can assume that the 2023 to 2024 increase means the daily average of veteran’s suicides is near twenty-three. Veterans remain at a 13% higher elevated risk for suicide compared to the general population.

There are many unique and specific challenges and stressors that creates the higher rate among veterans, such as combat exposure, moral injury, traumatic brain injury, or military sexual trauma, which can affect their mental health. Veterans may experience difficulties in transitioning to civilian life, such as finding employment, housing, or social support, which can lead to feelings of isolation, hopelessness, or despair. Setting goals or making resolutions is a means of self-motivation and can help a person progress toward a lifestyle they are seeking. However, setting unrealistic goals or setting the bar too high can lead to a feeling that you are a failure because you did not reach your goal. If you do fall short of your goal here are some strategies that can help you cope with your feeling of failure. 

Re-frame your failure: Instead of seeing your failure as a sign of your inadequacy, see it as an opportunity to gain experience from your mistakes, improve your skills and try new strategies.

Focus on your strengths: Instead of dwelling on your weaknesses or comparing yourself to others, remind yourself of your achievements, talents and values, an how they can help you overcome your challenges.

Seek Support: Instead of isolating yourself or hiding your failure, reach out to people who care about you, such as friends, family, or mentors, and ask for their advice, encouragement, or feedback.

Set Realistic Goals: Instead of aiming for perfection unrealistic outcomes, set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound, and break them down into smaller and manageable steps. Attaining these smaller goals will give you’re the feeling of accomplishment and encourages you to continue toward the goal.

Veterans Suicide Hotlines:

WebCall 988 and select 1. Text 838255. Start a confidential chat. If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 800-799-4889. You can also take these actions: Call 911. Go to the nearest emergency room. Go directly to your nearest VA medical center. It does not matter what your discharge …Go To: Veteran Suicide Prevention | Veterans Affairs (va.gov)

Veterans 50 or over, join the Parma Area Senior Veterans Meetup Group at The Donna Smallwood Activity Center. For info call or text 440-263-0507. Next Meeting Wednesday January 31st 1pm.

Tony Kessler

Administrator - "Parma Area Senior Veterans"

Executive committee member of "We Are Parma Proud"

Past Commander  of American Legion Post 572

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Volume 16, Issue 1, Posted 2:00 PM, 01.01.2024