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A Helping Hand for Our Protectors

Nov 10, 2020

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A Helping Hand for Our Protectors

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OnStar is working to help keep our veterans safe when they return home

Across the nation, we celebrate and thank the heroic Americans who serve in our military, both at home and overseas, for their work to help keep us all safer. But sometimes those heroes need our help once they return home. An average of 20 veterans die by suicide each day, and the suicide rate among veteran adults is 1.5 times greater than for nonveterans, according to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

To help prevent these tragedies, it’s crucial to ensure any veteran who is suffering or contemplating suicide knows about the resources that are available to them. In recent years, advocacy groups have launched social media campaigns — you may have seen the 22 Pushup Challenge, for instance — to help bring attention to the plight of veteran suicide prevention and to make sure veterans know how to reach help if they need it.

In addition, it’s vital that those sources of help are easy to reach, 24/7. For that reason, OnStar is furthering its commitment to veterans by working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. When a veteran suffering a crisis pushes the red Emergency button*16a in their vehicle, OnStar Emergency-Certified Advisors*64 are able to, if appropriate, connect them with the VA’s Veterans Crisis Line. The Veterans Crisis Line offers confidential support that is available around the clock. The VA is also providing additional training to OnStar Advisors to help them determine if a caller may be a military veteran.

“Being able to quickly access help during a crisis can be crucial for those with thoughts of suicide,” says Dr. Jerry Reed, senior vice president for Practice Leadership at the Education Development Center, executive committee member at the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and himself a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

“Every moment counts when someone is in crisis and considering suicide,” he says. “If there is some opportunity for someone to connect in that moment of crisis, we have an opportunity to save a life.”

OnStar Emergency-Certified Advisors are already trained to help Members experiencing a crisis. If a Member pushes the red Emergency button, Advisors can connect them with a crisis counselor, or if necessary, contact emergency services near the Member’s location.

“Every chance for someone to reach help when in a crisis is an essential and life-saving opportunity that we should not miss,” says Reed.

If you or somebody you know is experiencing a crisis, push your red Emergency button or call 1.800.273.8255 to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.