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Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Call 988

Receive Immediate Access To Info And Support

988 (like 911 for emergency) is the new three-digit telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

988 is a comprehensive resource, with counselors who can answer questions, provide guidance and resources for individuals at risk for suicide, as well as those experiencing other mental health and substance use related emergencies. This includes families and individuals that represent a support system for those seeking assistance. 

Specialized services are also available for veterans, LGBTQ+ individuals, and other groups.


Also helpful is SAMHSA – the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.



Stephen M. Apatow, Chaplain for the National 13 Lives Project, and Trustee and Chaplain for the Lordship Community Church in Stratford, Connecticut, explains the growing crisis:

49,500 people took their own lives last year in the U.S., the highest number ever, according to new government data posted Thursday. -- US suicides hit an all-time high last year: ABC News, 10 August 2023.

The number of suicides across the active-duty military increased from 75 in the first quarter of 2022 to 94 in the first quarter of 2023, according to the Defense Suicide Prevention Office. --
Military suicide stats released, Army saw highest increase of deaths: Military Times, 3 July 2023. To date we have an estimated 300,000 veterans suicides, 44/day, since 911.

After adjustments for delayed reporting, the predicted number of drug overdose deaths showed an increase of 0.5% from the 12 months ending in December 2021 to the 12 months ending in December 2022, from 109,179 to 109,680. -- Provisional Data Shows U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths Top 100,000 in 2022: CDC, 18 May 2023.



Stephen is also a Licensed Ministry Chaplain and member of the Military Officers' Christian Fellowship. He notes how military personnel, veterans and their family also need help:

Since 2001, nearly 2.5 million service members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and related National Guard and Reserve Component units have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, according to Department of Defense data. Combat deployments have exposed troops to extreme physical and psychological stressors, while families deal with their own deployment-related experiences.

- Studies have linked better mental health outcomes with increased levels of social support, which includes relationships with extended families, friends, neighbors and others.  According to the National Military Family Association, communication among service members, families and family support providers is essential in dealing with both the separation of a deployment, and preparation for the reunion with the service member.

- After experiencing a deployment, service members are faced with the reality of family life and the need to fit into new family roles and routines; family members can be both eager and reluctant to get things “back to normal.”

- In a 2012 survey, 41 percent of military families felt their community did not embrace opportunities to help military children.


Military personnel and their families are rooted in the heart of communities across America.


Research from the National Military Family Association shows 70 percent of military families live in civilian communities—not on military installations. Every day, these men and women answer the call to serve our country and support whatever mission they are assigned. Military families can face intense challenges under normal circumstances. According to the Family Resiliency Training™ for Military Families by FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress™), additional stressors come along with separation, such as concerns for the safety of a deployed loved one and the well-being of those left behind.

When service members return from deployment, the challenges don’t end. Families may encounter mixed feelings, and these emotions can make reunions both joyful and trying. Whether service members are single, living alone or with parents, married, with or without children, they rely on support networks to help ease the anxieties involved.


Assistance from extended family, friends and neighbors is critical and can have a lasting impact on service members and those closest to them.


To help military and veteran families – before, during and after deployment, please download this PDF:


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