The nonprofit group Save A Vet Now helps veterans. You can help them at a fundraiser at Battleship North Carolina on November 6.
Contributed by Tony Vivaldi, founder of Save A Vet Now
We are sufficiently aware of the veteran suicide crisis, and it’s high time we focus on prevention.
In addition to the Veterans Administration, there are countless organizations trying to help, and despite their efforts, the number of veteran suicides hasn’t effectively changed in more than a decade. We help with homelessness, physical injury, substance use, job searches and homebuying. We organize walk-a-thons, marathons, boat excursions and field trips. We appeal to our veterans’ creative senses with workshops in art, pottery, poetry and the like. We do what we can to make their transition to civilian life a little easier, but the number doesn’t change. Why aren’t we making headway in our fight against veteran suicide?
Experts are quick to say that this is a complex problem and there is no simple answer to the question. There are far too many contributors to discuss here, but there are a few that deserve attention.
We must recognize that getting veterans to ask for the help they need is quite a challenge. The majority are reluctant to go to the Veterans Administration for reasons personal to them, so they elect to go it alone. Because of the stigma our society places on mental health, they are ashamed of their condition and they worry that public knowledge of it could keep them from getting the job they want, or even worse, cause them to lose the job they already have.
Insufficiently prepared for life after the military, many veterans struggle to make the transition to an unfamiliar civilian culture. Some find their niche, others don’t.
Many have been traumatized by their military experiences and suffer night terrors, flashbacks and nightmares. Far too many indulge in self-medication, which results in a poor outcome.
Then there are those veterans who deal with any combination of these maladies, which are all contributors to suicide ideation. Fundamental change in how we think about mental health and how we prepare our service men and women for life after the military would be a great first step toward veteran suicide prevention. Until that happens, however, we must find ways to break through this barrier, get veterans to understand there is hope and that asking for help is a sign of courage and strength, certainly not weakness. Save A Vet Now is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and we are focus on this premise.
We are different than other like-minded organizations in that we go beyond the social connection events and mental health counseling by offering professional and confidential treatment for the underlying contributors to suicide ideation such as PTSD, depression, substance use and anxiety disorder. This treatment is offered to veterans with no out-of-pocket expense. We do this through our Veterans Outreach Program, which is administered by our partner, Coastal Horizons, a well-known and highly respected Wilmington-based service provider in the field of mental health and substance abuse.
Look for us on November 6 when we conduct our annual Artwork Can Save A Vet Fundraiser on the Battleship North Carolina. Entrance to the Battleship is free to attendees of this event. One hundred percent of the proceeds from this fundraiser go to the Veterans Outreach Program at Coastal Horizons. You can find more information about us at saveavetnow.org and coastalhorizons.org.
Want to go?
Artwork Can Save A Vet Silent Auction
Saturday, November 6, 10 am to 5 pm
Battleship North Carolina