Suicide statistics remain bleak, yet hope remains for U.S. veterans

By November 11, 2019

USA (MNN) — Calls for better suicide awareness and prevention often accompany Veteran’s Day in the U.S., and rightfully so. More than 6,000 veterans commit suicide each year and it’s been that way for more than 10 years, according to the latest VA statistics.

There’s no immediate solution in sight, yet hope remains. Warriors Set Free, a division of Set Free Ministries, is run by veterans for veterans. Director Steve Prince says he and other trained veterans help hurting individuals find healing in Christ.

“To hear a wife overflowing with joy because her husband is more alive and more present – a better husband, a better father, a better part of the kingdom of God – is a huge, huge joy that I get to experience.”

Helping wounded warriors

Using a biblical process developed by Christian author Dr. Neil Anderson, Warriors Set Free staff and volunteers guide wounded vets from captivity to freedom. Through one-on-one, team, and group training sessions, veterans receive the spiritual principles they need to achieve lasting healing. Learn more about Warriors Set Free here.

“Men, in general, don’t want to ask for help and then you put the military mindset on top of it – we’re trained to tolerate pain until we break. So, one of the questions I ask a lot of people is… ‘How’s that working for you?’,” Prince says.

“Most people believe life is going pretty good – until it’s not.”

Case in point: a Vietnam veteran who recently found freedom from decades of significant pain. At a weekend event in Michigan organized by Warriors Set Free, “God dealt with some pain that’s nearly 50 years old,” Prince describes.

“To watch a man break and feel the love of God and get healing from the trauma [inflicted by a war] that was 50 years ago… is priceless.”

Many vets won’t share their struggles with anyone except other veterans, Prince shares. Warriors Set Free’s vet-to-vet approach allows people to connect across generations. “I was Army from ’92 to 2015, but I can sit across from a Marine from the Vietnam era [and] understand some of [his] experience,” he explains.

U.S. Army Soldiers from Baker Company, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division scan for enemy personnel during a patrol through a village southeast of Salman Pak, Iraq, Feb. 15, 2008. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Timothy Kingston) (Released)

“I’ve been deployed; I’ve been through training; I know what it’s like to go through something similar. That’s typically enough for them (veterans) to trust me and be able to open up.”

Next steps

If you know a struggling veteran, click here to connect with Warriors Set Free. Prince and this ministry are based in West Michigan, but that doesn’t limit their reach or availability.

“We’d love to talk to people in other parts of the country and give them a little bit of guidance, and some of the training and lessons we’ve learned over the last five years to equip them locally,” Prince says.

“We’re not exactly sure how God’s going to do that yet. But, if there’s someone in Sacramento, California, [or] Calgary, Canada, we’d love to talk to them… encourage them and share everything; we’ve not cornered the market on this.”

Whether you personally know a veteran or not, Veteran’s Day is a reminder to pray for “wounded warriors” through the country. “The biggest prayer for veterans is that they would open up, that God would send someone into their lives that could understand their story,” Prince says.

“Joy shared is joy multiplied, pain shared is pain divided.”

 

 

Header image is a stock photo obtained via Pexels.

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