You may think that Veterans Day or the U.S. armed forces have nothing in common with your teen, but you’d be very wrong.
The only group with more total suicides annually than today’s teens and young adults are our veterans. And many for the same reason…hopelessness. For interviewed veterans, some of the most prevalent feelings and traits were loneliness, isolation from friends and loved ones, poor sleep conditions, and eating disorders.
Does this sound familiar? They should, as these traits also are the same teen characteristics for depression.
This is a great time to talk with your teen about the comparison with today’s teens and the plight of today’s veterans. If you’re struggling to connect with your teen, try to ask questions and understand what they are feeling. Share veteran stories and the history of our nation to help them perhaps gain insight into the bigger picture of life.
Of course, there are many great resources on our website, www.abrighterday.info. Perhaps the timeliest resource for your teen is our 24/7 text hotline. Your teen, even you as the parent, can type “BRIGHTER” to 741741 and receive great help.
Text BRIGHTER to 741741 to connect with a trained crisis couselor
On a very personal level, I cannot thank our veterans enough for their brave and selfless sacrifice to keep America safe and ensure that we have the freedoms that we do. We get to vote for a new government every two years. We have the right to voice our opinions without repercussion and completely disagree with our friends and neighbors.
We have liberties that much of the world doesn’t have. We have the ability to grow from poverty to success, irrespective of bloodline, race, sex, sexuality, or religion. We can practice our religion even as a minority without the fear of imprisonment. And we have the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, perhaps the most significant document of freedom ever written.
Our veterans have died, shed blood, lost limbs, and experienced a lifetime of PTSD. They have led all other groups in suicide, and their families have shared in all of this. I have met and been touched by many veterans and their families working so hard to move forward.
Veterans Day was created following World War I, “the war to end all wars”. It is a federal holiday. It was designed as an occasion to honor all those who have served America and became November 11th officially by President Eisenhower. It is the 11th because WWI ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. To put this in perspective, approximately 850,000 United States soldiers have died protecting our country, in some form, since 1775.
On behalf of A Brighter Day Charity, I urge you to take this Veterans Day and enjoy the conversation with your teen. It’s a good day to hug them and thank a veteran for their service.
Are you a parent looking for more information? Visit our resources page to learn about symptoms of depression, find more articles, and download our Parent Survival Toolkit.