In observance of Suicide Prevention Month, Wilmington VA Medical Center is bringing awareness to its #BeThere campaign by encouraging community leaders, colleagues and veterans’ families and friends to help prevent suicide by showing support for those who may be going through a difficult time.

Suicide is a complex national public health issue that affects communities nationwide, with more than 45,000 Americans, including more than 6,000 veterans, dying by suicide every year. But suicide is preventable. VA is using a community-driven approach to prevent suicide and finding innovative ways to deliver support and care to all 20 million U.S. veterans whenever and wherever they need it.

“The Wilmington VA is working hard to end Veteran suicide. I encourage everyone to take a moment to be there for Veterans in need,” said Director Vince Kane, who oversees the Wilmington VAMC and its five outpatient clinics in Delaware and southern New Jersey. “One act of thoughtfulness can save a life. Treatment works and serves as a protective factor against suicide.”

Everyone can play a role by learning to recognize warning signs, showing compassion and care to veterans in need and offering support.

Steps the public can take to #BeThere include:

— Reach out to veterans. Send a check-in text, cook them dinner or ask, “How are you?”

— Know the warning signs of suicide, found on the Veterans Crisis Line website.

— Watch the free SAVE training video to respond with care and compassion if someone indicates they are having thoughts of suicide.

— Check out VA’s Social Media Safety Toolkit to learn how to recognize and respond to social media posts that may indicate emotional distress, feelings of crisis or thoughts of suicide.

— Contact VA’s Coaching Into Care program if concerned about a veteran loved one. A licensed psychologist or social worker will provide guidance on motivating a loved one to seek support.

Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at veteranscrisisline.net/chat.