Jason Mosel was a tough, smart Marine. This summer, he took the stage to talk about his struggles with survivor’s guilt, which led to drinking and thinking about suicide.
His is one of many success stories VA is sharing this September for Suicide Prevention Month.
He told his story at the White River Junction VA Medical Center’s Seventh Annual Mental Health Summit.
Mosel’s life began to change in 2013 when he participated in an obstacle course that pushed him physically and mentally. He discovered that he could build his own recovery through extreme exercise.
“I did not know that this moment would change my life. I found something that was missing, a community of people and a sense of accomplishment by pushing myself to a limit that I didn’t think was possible, then going beyond that,” he said.
Can’t change the past but can control the future
“Slowly I started to put down the bottle and lace up my running shoes. Though it sounds cut and dry, it was anything but that.”
Mosel described the daily battle he endured while fighting off his demons and confronting himself in the mirror. His turning point came through acceptance of his new reality, accepting that he can’t change his past but can control how he lives his future.
He emphasized that this is what drives him to push harder and overcome the inevitable obstacles life throws in his way.
September is Suicide Prevention Month
VA encourages Veterans, community leaders, co-workers, families and friends to #BeThere — to help prevent suicide. Be present, supportive and strong for those who may be going through a difficult time.
“This September, and all year, I encourage everyone to take a moment to be there for Veterans in need.” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “One act of thoughtfulness can make a big difference and may even save a life.”
#BeThere campaign urges communities nationwide to support Veterans
Suicide is a complex, national public health issue that affects communities nationwide. More than 45,000 Americans, including more than 6,000 Veterans, die by suicide every year.
Suicide is preventable, and special training is not needed to prevent suicide. Everyone can play a role. Learn to recognize warning signs, showing compassion to Veterans in need and offering support. Listed are actions anyone can take to Be There:
- Reach out to Veterans to show them you care. Send a check-in text, cook them dinner or simply ask, “How are you?”
- Learn the warning signs of suicide, found on the Veterans Crisis Line website.
- Watch the free S.A.V.E. training video to equip yourself to respond with care and compassion if someone you know indicates they are having thoughts of suicide.
- Check out VA’s Social Media Safety Toolkit to learn how to recognize and respond to social media posts that may indicate emotional distress, feelings of crisis or thoughts of suicide.
- Contact VA’s Coaching Into Care program when worried about a Veteran or loved one. A licensed psychologist or social worker will provide guidance on motivating your loved one to seek support.
Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.
Katherine Tang is a public affairs officer at the White River Junction VA Medical Center.