WEBB CITY, Mo. — September is Suicide Prevention Month.

And many of those suicides involve men and women that have served, or are currently serving in the military.
Ted Donaldson explains why so much grief comes when a suicide attempt is successful.

“Every suicide impacts, on average, about 132 people, that’s dramatic when we think about that, but when you’re in that time of torment and depression, that may be something that goes through your mind,” said Ted Donaldson, Founder, Compass Quest.

Fortunately, there are several organizations in the Joplin area with a goal of veteran suicide prevention.
Among them, Donaldson’s Compass Quest veterans advocacy group, and Charlie 22 Outdoors

“We try and get them reconnected with other veterans of veteran groups, get them engaged in doing things in the community, and it does a lot of things whenever we do that, number one it gets the connected to somebody else, and it starts them building their own little network, number two, it reminds them of what they had when they were in the military which is this network of camaraderie these other people that are, you know, dealing with situations too,” added Donaldson.

“Well our mission is the show hope and love and meaning that comes from God’s grace, we use the outdoors to do that, so we’re trying to show our veterans there’s a way to deal with PTSD and the demons that they have, a lot of our guys, a lot of our veterans wake up without a purpose and we’re trying to show them they still do have a purpose, and people still do love them, and they do still have a place in this world even though they’re not in the service anymore,” said Scott Hettinger, Charlie 22 Outdoors.

It may not be the case with every veteran, but Scott Hettinger says these organizations are making a positive difference.

“We get regular messages now from our guests, saying, this has saved my life, this has saved my marriage, this has changed my outlook, this has given me a new hope again, so you you don’t know initially necessarily what’s happening with them, but ultimately, in the end, you get messages and contacts and phone calls saying, hey, you have no idea what this has done for me,” added Hettinger.

So what can the rest of us, who’ve never served and have no idea what those that have, have been exposed to, do to help prevent suicide?

Donaldson says learn as much as you can from programs like the VFW’s Know the Five Signs to be able to pick up on a veteran who might be going down a one way road and encourage them help is available.