HHSC encourages Texas veterans to access free suicide prevention and PTSD treatment resources

July 07, 2021

Every summer, the Lone Star State recognizes Texas Veterans Suicide Prevention and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month. As part of the awareness effort, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) encourages military veterans to access the resources available to them for suicide prevention and PTSD.

military veteran saluting U.S. flag“When a veteran is battling PTSD, not only does it have an impact on them, it affects their families, friends, and communities. Reaching out for help is the first step toward getting support for them and preventing suicide,” said Sonja Gaines, HHSC deputy executive commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services. “We connect veterans to mental health care and other invaluable services that can support them.”

According to the most recent data by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), at least 511 veterans in Texas died by suicide in 2018. That suicide rate is almost double the suicide rate of non-veterans in the state. The VA attributes some of those deaths to the military-related trauma that affects 11 to 30 percent of veterans.

Texas veterans in crisis can do one of the following things:

  • call the Veterans Crisis Line at (800) 273-8255 and press 1,
  • send a text to 838255 or
  • visit VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat to chat online.  

“It’s important that we know the signs of mental health issues in our friends, family members and others. Also important is helping them to create a safe environment. With education and awareness, we can assist those suffering from mental health issues, help prevent self-destructive behaviors and increase well-being for them and those around them,” said Dr. Blake Harris, Ph.D., director, Veterans Mental Health Department, Texas Veterans Commission.

HHSC administers the Mental Health Program for Veterans, in partnership with the Texas Veterans Commission. The program funds peer-to-peer counseling for veterans and their families through local mental health authorities and local behavioral health authorities.   

HHSC also funds and administers the TexVet initiative which includes a website hosted by the Texas A&M Health Science Center. The website helps veterans navigate through resources available in their communities including mental health care providers, social groups, job placement programs, and legal assistance. Veterans can also visit MentalHealthtx.org/veterans to find additional resources.

About Texas Veteran Suicide and PTSD Awareness Month

The Texas governor and state lawmakers established Veteran Suicide and PTSD Awareness Month for a 10-year period beginning in 2019. The awareness month encourages agencies, organizations, and other entities to work together to expand treatment and prevention services for veterans and their families.