September is National Suicide Prevention Month

Doug Brinker - 8/31/2023

"Place your hand on your heart feel that? That’s called Purpose you’re alive for a Reason!” Don’t Give Up! - Joyce Meyer


September marks National Suicide Prevention month, and unfortunately, the topic of suicide is something all too familiar to the veteran community. As your Mental Health Wellness program director, this month is about psychoeducation, resources, and most of all support to all of you who struggle with mental barriers to discover your God given purpose and to allow others to be a beacon for HOPE to you.  

 It’s estimated that 15 percent of adults will experience depression at one point or another throughout life. And, according to the World Health Organization, that means there are currently over 300 million people in the world living with depression.

"Whatever the cause, for some of these people, the emotional pain will become too much, and they will consider suicide as an option of escape. In fact, around 800,000 people go through with suicide every year, and for each of those, there are around 25 timesmore suicide attempts.” (W.H.O.)

      First and foremost, this month is dedicated to the memory of our comrades who lost the battle with suicide. Remember that "You Matter Always” and you have a purpose. I encourage those interested in an active role in suicide prevention to contact me about training. Knowing the 5 signs, becoming ASSIST, SAVE, SAFE TALK or QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) trained are just a few available options.

24 years ago, August 7th, 1999, I was in a very deep and dark situation where I felt life had no

 purpose nor reason to live, allowing the demons to take control of my decision, and attempted to end my life. Thank God, that effort was thwarted. He showed me through this appointment as mental health director, and other opportunities that HOPE (Helping One Person Everyday) is now my purpose, passion and perseverance. I work hard for each of you throughout the department to provide all available resources. Speaker’s table items including testimonial videos from the top Suicide Prevention Leaders in our Nation.

As a member of the Governor Challenge committees for Access to Lethal Means,

 "more lives saved than more lives lost” is a reality of accomplishment.

 Overprescribing/Deprescribing medications it is my will to educate myself all that I can. I am always contacting valuable resources such as Volunteers of America, and their Veteran Suicide initiative, throughout the state to share with each of you. Advocacy is my passion and communicating that to State Representative and my longtime friend, Kathy Schmaltz, who believes in helping to eradicate veteran suicide, is a journey I will long endure until we know

In closing, my phone is Always On, Always Available and I am Always here to listen to share valuable resources and offer HOPE! 

Doug Brinker M.A. CPSS 2x Survivor
VFW Department of Michigan
Mental Health Wellness and VMS Programs Director


 "The person who completes suicide, dies once. Those left behind die a thousand deaths, trying to relive those terrible moments and understand… why?” – Clark



A satirical reflection by Author/Artist Phil Fehrenbacher

Phil enlisted in the Army in 1965 where you served for years in Vietnam.  He became a graphic designer and has worked for the state of Oregon for 26 years.  He retired in 2003 and started the Cartoon "In-Country".  The cartoons reflect his experiences during his tour of duty in South Vietnam.

There is a new cartoon everyday.