September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The VFW is proud of the veterans who are #StillServing by fighting mental wellness stigmas, doing buddy checks and providing ways for service members to get the help and support they need.
Each day, at least 20 of our country’s heroes are lost to suicide — but it doesn’t have to be this way. Among the stories shared through the #StillServing campaign, there are many inspiring accounts of men and women courageously focusing on their mental wellness who are now helping their fellow veterans do the same.
U.S. Army veteran Brian Gibson of Paducah, Kentucky, is one of the veterans helping others in their battle for mental wellness. A conversation with a friend several years ago gave him the idea to create Project Diehard, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about veteran suicide and assisting veterans who are struggling after transitioning to civilian life.
Gibson is now in the process of trying to fund and build Fort Hope on approximately 114 acres in western Kentucky. The focus of Project Diehard will be to provide 100 veterans who need healing and recovery with a serene place to stay while they get help through a faith-based program. A local church was moved by Gibson’s #StillServing story and donated 27 out of the 114 acres needed to build the facility.
The VFW is committed to bringing attention to stories like Gibson’s and to helping change the narrative and stigma surrounding mental wellness in America. It’s vital to spread the word that help is available for every service member and veteran struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or any other type of invisible injuries and emotional stress.
If you or someone you know needs mental wellness assistance, please contact the Veterans Crisis Line to reach qualified responders who are often veterans themselves. Free and confidential support is available 24 hours a day, every day. Chat online at www.veteranscrisisline.net, call 1-800-273-8255 (and press 1) or text 838255.
Thank you to everyone making sure our nation’s heroes are cared for when they return home.