Talking to A Service Member

Talking to A Service Member you are Concerned About

If a veteran you know is experiencing mental health difficulties, remind the service member that:

Talking to A Service Member you are Concerned About - Urgent Need

If you believe a service member you know may be a danger to themselves or others:

It is very important that he or she gets professional help immediately. Even if the service member is resistant to such support, it is very important that immediate contact be made with a professional who can provide a thorough evaluation of the degree of risk, even if it means the service member becomes angry with you. While you may incur their anger initially, you may also save a life.

How do I know if a service member is a danger to themselves or others?

If you are in doubt, it is always best to have a professional evaluate the person. You may save a life by getting a trained evaluation by a nurse, a physician, a clergy member, a social worker, a counselor or a crisis worker. Be alert for statements or behaviors such as:

Call 911

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

Offer to take the person to the local mental health clinic, their primary care provider or the Emergency Room (ER)

Talking to A Service Member you are Concerned About

If you have a close relationship with the service member:

If you do not have a close relationship with the service member:

You can still listen to what ever they choose to share with you.

If you remain concerned after listening, you can approach someone who is close to the service member and encourage them to say: "I am very concerned about some of the {thoughts, feelings or behaviors} you have shared with me. It sounds like you are troubled by these {thoughts, feelings or behaviors} too. From what you have told me, you have been through an experience that may be more painful and powerful than any person needs to handle alone. I care about you, but I do not fully know what to do to support you through this. What I do know is that many brave soldiers, even Generals (Major General Tony Cucolo, Commander, 3rd Infantry Division; General Carter Ham, Commanding General U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army) have sought and received treatment for combat related stress. I would like to help you find someone who is trained to provide that type of support."

If the person is not in imminent danger, suggest that the person see a counselor, pastor or other mental health provider.