Suicide among veterans and first-responders is a real and very present problem in our community. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that on average 22 veterans die by suicide every day. According to the Tampa Bay Times, U.S. Representative Kathy Castor of Tampa organized a coalition of local nonprofits, mental health professionals, and others in 2014 to talk about what is being done in the Tampa Bay area to prevent veteran suicide. They all agreed that the community needs to build more awareness and make available more local support services. In 2015, an article published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine found that in a survey of more than 4,000 first-responders, 6.6 percent had attempted suicide, which is more than 10 times the rate of the general population. I’ve talked to a lot of people who work with veterans and first-responders and they say that personal cards from kids can help make veterans and first-responders feel worthy and appreciated. I think sometimes people just need compassion. I feel like I can get involved by spreading awareness, making cards, and bringing volunteers to organizations and places that help veterans and first-responders.�
I hope to prevent suicide among veterans and first-responders. "The misconception surrounding PTSD is that it is just something you feel after experiencing a horrible situation. This isn’t the case. Most veterans and first responders are familiar with the body’s fight or flight system. It is a physiological reaction that enables your body to react in stressful and threatening situations. After the threat has subsided, the physiological changes return to normal everyday status, because the body is no longer in the threatening situation. When PTSD is truly in effect, this fight or flight effect doesn’t go away and causes a continual feeling of stress, fear, and anxiety. The goal is to change the way the disturbing thoughts affect the person suffering with PTSD and give a resolution to the event. If they can stop feeling anxious, frightened, even paralyzed by the thoughts, then they can resume normal functioning in day-to-day life." My hope is that with the love of the community, we can save their lives, as they have saved, and can continue to save, ours. �We will do this by providing hand-made, hand-written cards to organizations that serve active military personnel, veterans, and first-responders in distress.