Bozho (Hello),

Our CPN Veterans Organization’s Color Guard has been busy with flags at events. This year promises to be an event-filled era, keeping our flags and CPN veterans visible to the public. We encourage all CPN veterans and their families to join us. You do not have to be a member of the CPN Veterans Organization to participate in our parades. It’s fun and can really lift your spirit.

Now, I would like to touch on a subject that is very sensitive and important. It is a crisis that needs to be addressed and of great concern to our armed forces and many of our veterans, especially our combat veterans. Serving our country comes at a price. It changes the individual. Most of us know a veteran who has been affected by military service. Although we were trained to keep our cool in stressful situations, it is still tough when we face them. After leaving the military, the situations themselves may change. Dealing with tough times doesn’t get any easier. One example is knowing what to do if someone you served with is talking about suicide. The key is being prepared and knowing how to respond with care and compassion. You can play a crucial role in providing support and making a difference in a veteran’s life.

How do you recognize a crisis? Some actions and behaviors can be a sign a veteran needs help.

Crisis signs: These require immediate attention. If you or a veteran you know is experiencing any of these signs and needs medical attention, call 911.

  • Thinking about hurting or killing themselves right now.
  • Looking for ways to kill themselves immediately.
  • Talking about death, dying or suicide.
  • Engaging in self-destructive behavior, such as drug abuse, risky use of weapons, etc.

Warning signs: These may indicate a veteran needs help. If you or a veteran you know is experiencing any of these, Dial 988 then Press 1 to contact the Veterans Crisis Line:

  • Appearing sad or depressed most of the time.
  • Feeling hopeless.
  • Experiencing anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness or mood swings.
  • Feeling as if there is no reason to live.
  • Feeling excessive guilt, shame or sense of failure.
  • Experiencing rage or anger.
  • Engaging in risky activities without thinking.
  • Increasing alcohol or drug misuse.
  • Losing interest in hobbies, work or school.
  • Neglecting personal welfare and appearance.
  • Withdrawing from family and friends.
  • Showing violent behavior, like punching a hole in the wall or getting into fights.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Getting affairs in order, tying up loose ends or writing a will.

Knowing what to say:

  • Make supportive and encouraging comments, but don’t ask invasive personal questions.
  • Don’t inject judgment or emotion into the conversation. Stay calm.
  • Listen more than you speak. Don’t dominate the conversation.
  • Remind them you are there for them.
  • Let them decide how much to share.

The first step in determining how you can best help someone struggling is to ask, “Are you thinking about suicide?” If they answer yes, then providing an appropriate level of support and connecting them with resources is the next step. If they answer no, it’s important to follow up with them and help them with what they need. Asking them directly and non-judgmentally will not put the idea of suicide into their head. Instead, they will know they can rely on you if suicide is ever a concern for them.

The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support. You don’t have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to connect. Dial 988 then Press 1 or text 838255. The VA also has suicide support training available. With the rise in suicides in the nation we should all be aware.


Our April CPN Veterans Organizations meeting will be April 23 at 6 p.m. (or as soon as you can get there) in the North Reunion Hall with food and socializing.

Daryl Talbot, Commander