Saturday, August 30, 2014

I Am The One

I Am The One
By Andrew Turner

On June 30th, 2014, we gathered together; we stood in awe, in horror, in silence as we looked at 660 crosses in a field representing the incredible loss of veteran suicide in a single month.  We saw the statistic in a new light.  We shared the tragedy with our community and tried to help people understand the epidemic that our veteran population is facing.  We also challenged each other to make a change.  We talked about the impact saving one life could have, the ripple it would create, and the tidal wave that would come with reducing 22 veteran suicides a day to 21 a day.  But most importantly we talked about where the change will come from and who is responsible for creating that change.  I am the one responsible for creating the change.  You are the one responsible for creating the change. 

With September being National Suicide Prevention Month, we have another opportunity to bring attention and awareness to the 22 veteran suicides daily and continue a discussion on what we can do to help change that number.  This month we will continue to bring you information on ways to fight PTSD and other mental health issues impacting veterans.  We’ll list resources that veterans can use to get the help they need in order to be healthy.  And, we’ll share our own stories of how we are the ones making a difference for veterans, and we’ll ask you to share with us how you are the one making a difference for those around you.

We want you to think about how you would finish the statement, “I am the one…”, and share your answer with us.  Think about it in terms of veteran suicide prevention.  Maybe you are the one who has the Veteran Crisis Line phone number stored in your phone so it’s there when you need it, or when your friend needs it.  Maybe you are the one who calls and writes your representative to encourage them to support legislation that increases mental health services for veterans.  Maybe you are the one who lost a battle buddy, and now you make a conscious effort to call and text your surviving friends to make sure they are doing ok, and to let them know you have their back if they need it.  Or, maybe you are the one who has struggled with thoughts of suicide, but has fought back from the brink. We all have a story to tell.

I know how I finish the statement.  Jamie and Laura both know how they finish it.  And starting September 1st 2014, we’ll be sharing ours with you and hoping you do the same with us. 

Here’s how you can participate: We’re going to share short video clips of us finishing the statement while holding a sign that reads, “I am the one…” Simply hold up your sign, share your statement, and then send us the link. We’ll post one each day during the month of September. If you’re still not sure you understand what we’re looking for, just follow our lead.  Andrew, Jamie, and Laura will have the first three days of the month covered.

This is just one way we can continue to take ownership of the problem and embrace our responsibility for being the change we wish to see.  I challenge you to accept the responsibility of being the change.  I challenge you to be the one that helps reduce the 22 a day.  I challenge you to find your ending to the statement, “I am the one…”, and share it with us. 

#BeTheOne  #IAmTheOne #22aDay  #21>22