Tools for Effective Communication: VA’s Guide on Writing About Veteran Suicide
As a writer for the Once a Soldier charity, we recognize the importance of advocating for mental health support for our military veterans. One of the most pressing concerns is veteran suicide, which has been on the rise in recent years. It is a complex issue that needs to be handled with utmost sensitivity and understanding. That’s why we highly recommend the VA’s guide, “How to Communicate and Write About Veteran Suicide,” which provides comprehensive resources on the topic.
This guide is not just for journalists and writers but for everyone who wants to communicate effectively about this issue. It is designed to help individuals understand the complexities of veteran suicide, provide guidelines for safe communication, and highlight resources for help and support. It is important to note that the VA relied on a Reporting on Suicide’s guide “Best Practices and Recommendations
for Reporting on Suicide” for some of their content.
One of the most critical aspects of the guide is how it emphasizes the importance of using appropriate language when discussing veteran suicide. Words like “committed suicide” or “successful suicide” can have a negative impact and contribute to the stigma around mental health. Instead, the guide suggests using “died by suicide” or “completed suicide,” which not only reduces the stigma but also humanizes the individual and acknowledges their struggle.
Raising Awareness: A Comprehensive Guide on Talking about Veteran Suicide
The guide also provides resources for safe communication, including information on how to approach someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts and how to ask sensitive questions without causing distress. It also provides suggestions on how to report on a suicide-related incident without glamorizing or sensationalizing it.
Additionally, the VA guide offers resources for support and intervention, such as the Veterans Crisis Line and local mental health services. It also highlights the importance of self-care for those who may be affected by the issue, including journalists and writers who cover these topics.
At Once a Soldier, we believe in using our platform to raise awareness and advocate for mental health support for veterans. By sharing the VA’s guide on “How to Communicate and Write About Veteran Suicide,” we hope to promote safe and effective communication about this complex issue.
In conclusion, the VA’s guide is an excellent resource for everyone, not just writers and journalists. It offers comprehensive information on how to communicate safely and effectively about veteran suicide, emphasizes the importance of appropriate language, and provides resources for help and support. By following these guidelines, we can help break the stigma around mental health and raise awareness about the critical issue of veteran suicide.