Hashtags. Confusing? Conflicting? Useful? I’m not sure yet. I do know that sometimes I’ve been overwhelmed seeing them. I use them, sometimes I make up my own, and sometimes there are moments when I don’t even understand them. Every so often I see a hashtag and it makes me think, makes me want to know more…
That’s just what the #BeThere did for me…
Upon further investigation I found out that it was for suicide prevention efforts, namely those of the VA and the Veterans Crisis Line.
I read a blog (shocker, right?) that discussed some resources for Veterans who are trying to go through the reintegration process, navigating combat life and civilian life. It is hard. Not because I know first hand, but because I have witnessed the struggle, and still see struggle on a daily basis.
But what about our women Veterans?
The Center for Women Veterans (CWV, because let’s be real, we can’t get away from the military acronyms even at the VA) provides information for one of the fastest growing subgroups of Veterans. Women are signing up for healthcare, benefits, and seeking assistance at higher rates than ever before.
But you know what…
Some of those women Veterans admit they still feel invisible, within and outside of the VA. The mission of the CWV is:
To advocate for cultural transformation to raise awareness about the service and sacrifice of women Veterans.
These voices need to be heard.
Additionally, the Center for Women Veterans was established by Congress in November 1994.
The CWV will monitor and coordinate VA’s administration of health care, benefits services, and programs for women Veterans (and let’s be honest, at times there are some VA’s that really need monitoring).
The CWV will serve as an advocate for a cultural transformation (both within the VA and in the general public) in recognizing the service and contributions of women Veterans and women in the military.
The CWV will raise awareness of the responsibility to treat women Veterans with dignity and respect.
So, in order to work toward lowering the number of Veterans (no matter if they are male or female, the number of Veterans we lose on a daily basis is still too high), we have to help. We have to realize simple actions can make a BIG difference.
How can you #BeThere?
- Learn more about how you can Be There for Veterans. September is suicide prevention month, but I think we can do more than a month, don’t you? Supporting our Veterans and reaching out can really make the difference for someone who is going through a difficult time.
- See what you can do in one minute, in one hour, and once a week. Reaching out during an anniversary date can be helpful, but what if you tried reconnecting with someone once a week? Make time for others, make people a priority.
- Learn the signs of crisis. You might not be able to see if someone is really struggling. You may not know what they go through every day. Send a text, email, or make a phone call. If you are really concerned, try arranging a time to meet with that person, swing by their house, go grab coffee.
- Be a buddy. Offer to babysit, hit the gym with someone, try a new activity–being active can help alleviate depression or feelings of loneliness and isolation.
- Food. Bring someone dinner, invite them to dinner, pick up the tab. Meet for coffee, swing by with some Starbucks–reaching out is key. It just takes an hour or so of your time.
We’ve got to reach out to those in need. Remember our women Veterans have sacrificed as well, and we can’t forget them. We have to #BeThere.