“The Veterans’ Journey” seeks to reduce veteran suicide by enhancing social connectedness with an independently filmed public service announcement.
NEW HAVEN, CONN. (Nov. 2, 2017)–With the rates of veteran suicide in the U.S. increasing, an Elm City veterans group and two local companies independently produced a public service announcement (PSA) that seeks to increase resiliency through “connectedness“ among veterans.
“The Veterans’ Journey” aims to raise awareness of the social and mental health benefits of belonging to a veterans service organization (VSO), especially among Post-9/11 veterans. Framed as one veteran’s transition back into civilian life, the PSA echoes the struggles of generations of American veterans.
Suicide is an increasing public health problem in the United States—particularly among the U.S. veteran population. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 20 veterans die by suicide each day; veterans have a 22 percent higher risk for suicide compared with U.S. civilian adults; risk for suicide is 2.5 times higher among female veterans; and rates of suicide are highest among younger veterans (age 18-29).
Multiple studies show that connectedness (the degree to which a person or group is socially close) is an important protective factor in lowering the risk for suicidal thoughts and self-directed violence, according to the Centers of Disease Control.
Recognizing that suicide effects many of their fellow service members, comrades at the Veterans of Foreign Wars New Haven Post 12150 (VFWNewHaven.org) set out to create a positive PSA encouraging them to “connect with your fellow veterans.” Instead of focusing on the cold and clinical aspects of suicide prevention, the PSA offers veterans a positive and hopefully life-enhancing alternative.
Filmed in and around New Haven in early 2017, Michael J. Finnegan Films (michaeljfinnegan.com) and MStan Productions (mstan.net) donated 100 percent of their time, equipment, and expertise. Locations included the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park, the Trinity Bar & Restaurant (thetrinitybar.com), and the hall in the Knights of St. Patrick (knightsofstpatrick.org).
ABOUT THE VFW
With a diverse roster of Post-9/11 veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars New Haven Post 12150 is proudly building a “new generation” VFW post in the largest, oldest, and most powerful war veterans service organization in America.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . “Prevention of Suicidal Behavior through the Enhancement of Connectedness.” National Center for Injury Prevention and Control , Department of Health and Human Services, 28 Jan. 2010, www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/Suicide_Strategic_Direction_Full_Version-a.pdf.
Suicide Among Veterans and Other Americans 2001-2014. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2017, Suicide Among Veterans and Other Americans 2001-2014, www.mentalhealth.va.gov/docs/data-sheets/VA-Suicide-Data-Report.pdf