Real Warriors Campaign: September Is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Early Intervention for Invisible Wounds Plays a Critical Role for Returning Service Members
Audio: 
David Parish, Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army (Retired)

(Washington, D.C., Thursday, September 7, 2017) - Experiencing psychological stress as part of military life can be common and when faced alone, these thoughts can sometimes lead to suicidal ideation. According to a recent Department of Veterans Affairs study, 20 veterans a day died by suicide in 2014. Early intervention for invisible wounds plays a critical role in successful care, recovery and reintegration for returning service members.

Retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class David Parish felt pressure to conceal symptoms of stress and depression during his early years of service. After surviving a suicide attempt, Parish decided to reach out for support from his leadership and the Military Health System. Through their help, he realized that seeking care early and striving for progress instead of perfection can help service members and veterans cope with symptoms of psychological health concerns. Building on the success of his recovery, Parish became a Brigade Master Resilience Trainer, sharing his story while supporting his military brothers and sisters. Parish knows that reaching out for help is a sign of strength, and wants to share that message with others.

(PARISH)

DURING MY TIME IN SERVICE, I FELT PRESSURE TO HIDE MY FEELINGS OF DEPRESSION AND SUICIDAL IDEATION. I WAS AFRAID THAT NO ONE WOULD UNDERSTAND MY SITUATION AND I HESITATED TO ASK FOR HELP. HOWEVER, AFTER SURVIVING A SUICIDE ATTEMPT, I DECIDED TO REACH OUT TO MY LEADERSHIP AND THE MILITARY HEALTH SYSTEM. THROUGH THEIR SUPPORT, I REALIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF STRIVING FOR PROGRESS AND NOT PERFECTION WHEN COPING WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH CONCERNS. I ENCOURAGE MY MILITARY BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO USE THE TOOLS AND RESOURCES AVAILABLE WITH THE REAL WARRIORS CAMPAIGN. REACHING OUT IS A SIGN OF STRENGTH.

If you or a loved one is coping with an invisible wound, resources are available, and treatment works. Visit realwarriors.net or confidentially call 866-966-1020. 

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