Honouring our veterans outside of planned observances

The Australian War Memorial. Pictures: Tony Pisani 

Across the world, countries set aside days to honour the women and men who serve in the military. But we can also find ways to recognise their sacrifice every day.

On April 25, Australia and New Zealand observe Anzac Day in honour of all those who have served in the armed forces, a tradition that has its origins in the commemoration of the soldiers who tragically lost their lives at Gallipoli during the First World War. 

New research conducted in Australia for the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide estimates that one serving or ex-serving Australian Defence Force member has suicide-related contact with emergency services every four hours across Australia.

In the United States, there were 6042 suicide deaths among Veteran men and 350 suicide deaths among Veteran women in 2021, according to a report released late last year by the US Department of Veteran Affairs. 

Those who have served in the military, particularly for a long time, have experienced a lifestyle that is very different from that of the civilian world, from the language they use to the way they dress and carry themselves. 

For those working in suicide prevention, it can be helpful to make the effort to learn more about Veterans and to develop a helpful list of resources.

Veterans are more likely to connect with another person who has served, so it is important to acknowledge their context and empower them to advocate for their specific needs.

You could try saying:

“While I do not personally have military service experience, I am committed to helping you feel better, and part of that is helping you connect to the right resources. We can work together to identify specific organisations or programs for those who have served.”

SafeSide Prevention offers our deepest gratitude to those who have and continue to serve. 

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Acknowledgement of Country
SafeSide Prevention acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we live and work. We recognise and respect that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People are the First Peoples and Traditional Custodians of this country. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Acknowledgement of Lived Experience
We acknowledge the lived experience of those with suicide and mental illness, their families and carers. Their preferences, wishes, needs, and aspirations are at the heart of all the work we do.

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