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"The Clergy Connection" Newsletter

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August 2015 - Page 1
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The Clergy Connection

Newsletter of the National VA Chaplain Center
Rural Clergy Training Program

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. ~ William James

Man with serious expression on his face

This issue of The Clergy Connection will focus attention on what clergy and congregations can do to protect against suicide and will emphasize the importance of healthy relationships of support with warriors.

Twenty percent of suicides in America are committed by Veterans, who make up 10% of the population, with 49,000 taking their lives between 2005 and 2011. Seventy percent of suicides are of Veterans over 50, a particularly vulnerable population.

Chaplain David Thompson, US Navy Chaplain (retired), wrote about this national problem in "More Veterans Killed by Suicide than by Combat," published in the Summer 2015 Issue of The Military Chaplain.

"Many of our Veterans who take their lives belong to Veteran's organizations or churches which may be too superficially engaged with their members to notice and intervene in helping a Veteran who is going through a dark time.

"As much as the VA is doing to address this problem (and they are addressing the suicide issue), without the help of neighbors and friends and congregational care systems having eyes and ears to see Veterans in trouble in our communities, this problem with persist at scandalous levels. The problem of "let the other guy do it" is as old as the Biblical Story of the Good Samaritan from the Christian tradition.

Person sitting on park bench

"But knowing the alarming number of suicides, we as members of Veterans organizations and faith communities (along with the VA), need to organize and respond in multidisciplinary ways to address this problem and understand the multiple crises that lead a Veteran to take his/her life after years of service to our country.

"No Veteran should stand a better chance of being killed by their own hand upon returning home from war than they faced from an enemy in a combat zone. There is just something wrong with this picture...and we just can't turn away from this problem."

Read the full article at:

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 Press 1
Confidential help for Veterans
and their Families

The Clergy Connection is a publication of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Rural Health (ORH) and National VA Chaplain Center "Rural Clergy Training Program." For more information, contact: Jim Goalder,

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