This year’s theme is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’.
Every day, our specialist teams support veterans and families to stand strong once again. But for many, the journey before they take the first step towards accessing that support can take weeks, months or even years.
Ian Baker joined the RAF in 1989, deploying with 2 Squadron to Kuwait during the first Gulf War “Our job was to seek out and identify locations for the laser guided missiles. I saw a lot out there.”
Being medically discharged and losing the job he loved took its toll. At his lowest point, Ian considered taking his own life.
Finding himself in a homeless shelter, Ian eventually got the mental health support he needed.
He and his wife got involved with the charity a few years ago. At first he struggled to connect with others “I’d got used to shutting myself off and struggling to come to terms with everything that’s happened.”
However, at one of our events meeting local veterans and families in a similar position, things started to change: “We got a great welcome, made new friends and met up some old ones too. It was the best thing I ever did.”
We believe having a conversation can be lifesaving. Whether that’s with a friend, a loved one, a professional or even a stranger.
When someone opens up, it’s important that they feel safe and listened to. We want to help create suicide safer communities, where veterans and families feel they can speak up as soon as they start to struggle.
We are working on a programme of support to help everyone feel confident in having a potentially life-saving conversation with a struggling veteran. Details will be shared in the coming months.
If you are struggling, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Get support.
For support in an emergency, please call 999 or the Samaritans on 116 123.