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August 2017

Archive | August, 2017

September is National Suicide Prevention Month

By | In the News

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affair’s Office of Suicide Prevention has released its 2016 Suicide Data Report, which provides new information about suicide mortality among U.S. veterans from 2001-14.

This report shows that when compared to their non-veteran peers, most veterans are at an increased risk for suicide – 21 percent higher among veterans. Among male veterans, suicide rates are highest in the younger and older years, and among female veterans, suicide rates are highest in the younger years.

While the average number of veterans who died by suicide each day has remained relatively stable in recent years – an average of 20 per day in 2014 – the relative risk for suicide among veterans when compared to civilian adults has increased. In 2014, veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths by suicide among U.S. adults while constituting 8.5 percent of the U.S. adult population (ages 18 and older).

Learn to recognize signs

Many veterans may not show any signs of intent to harm themselves, but some veterans in crisis show signs of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and/or hopelessness, such as:

  • Appearing sad or depressed most of the time.
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, having trouble with sleeping or sleeping all the time.
  • Neglecting personal welfare, deteriorating physical appearance.
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society.
  • Losing interest in hobbies, work, school or other things one used to care about.
  • Frequent and dramatic mood changes.
  • Feelings of excessive guilt or shame.
  • Feelings of failure or decreased performance.
  • Feeling that life isn’t worth living, having no sense of purpose.
  • Feeling trapped or desperate – like there is no way out of a situation, no solution.
  • Behavior may be dramatically different from their normal behavior. They may appear to be thinking about or preparing for suicide through behaviors such as:
  • Performing poorly at work or school.
  • Recklessly engaging in risky activities.
  • Showing violent behavior – punching holes in walls, getting into fights, expressing rage or uncontrolled anger.
  • Appearing to have a “death wish,” tempting fate and showing risk-taking behaviors.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends and/or making out a will.
  • Seeking access to firearms, pills or other means of harming oneself.

Help is available. You are not alone. If you sense a problem, be direct and consider these options:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline/Veteran Crisis Hotline. If you are a veteran in crisis or know one who is, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 for immediate phone support and to confidentially speak with a trained, caring VA responder and get connected to services that can make a difference.

Community Mental Health Centers. In every New Hampshire county, there is a community mental health center with a military liaison. The CMHCs have received extensive training in the last year, growing their expertise in working with New Hampshire’s veteran population. This resource connects veterans and their friends and family members with information, resources and solutions to issues affecting their health, well-being and everyday lives. “Real Warriors, Real Strength.” The Real Warriors Campaign is an initiative launched by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury to promote the processes of building resilience, facilitating recovery and supporting reintegration of returning service members, veterans and their families.

NAMI NH is hosting the Military Family Expo for veterans, service members and military families on Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Grappone Center in Concord. They will be offering a suicide prevention workshop. Register for the expo at, by calling 568-5780 or by emailing

NAMI NH’s website,, provides information and links to hotlines, resources and New Hampshire support groups for survivors of suicide loss (

ESNH MVS provides services to New Hampshire veterans, service members, and their families, including suicide prevention, employment, housing and homelessness, substance abuse treatment, transportation, and treatment for PTSD and traumatic brain injury. Veterans Count, the philanthropic program of ESNH MVS, provides emergency financial assistance to veterans for critical and unmet needs. Veterans Count raises awareness about the challenges that can result from military service and raises money to help address these needs.

Blues festival supports veterans

By | In the News

It’s all about the music while reaching out to help veterans in need.

The third annual blues festival to support homeless veterans is set for Saturday, Aug. 26, noon to 4 p.m. on the Londonderry Town Common, intersection of Mammoth and Pillsbury roads.

Participating bands include Dr. Harp’s Blues Revue Band featuring special guest Jose Ramos, Deep Fried Blues Band and the Watts Up Band, all taking the stage throughout the afternoon with all donations and proceeds going to support Veterans Count, a program of Easter Seals, supporting veterans with financial assistance and services.

For Dennis Martin, also known as “Dr. Harp,” it’s important to help veterans, and the blues festival will aim to also put emphasis on the plight of homeless vets needing support.

“I’m passionate about helping homeless vets,” Martin said, mostly he said, because he knows what it’s like to need that support while not having a place to live.

Martin, a Cape Cod native, served in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years and said he recalled while serving and afterwards, he appreciated the veterans organizations that would help him with medical issues, education, and other support programs.

“People helped me, it’s my time to give back,” he said.

Martin is well-known for his musical talents on the harmonica, tagging him with the “Dr. Harp” nickname, because “harp” is a term referring to the tiny, shiny instrument.

And he has a collection of about 200 harmonicas that travel with him when he performs.

Music has been a part of Martin’s life since he was young He took on the unique harmonica as an instrument of choice, playing in young “garage” bands and learning how to appreciate music and how it can be such a part of someone’s life.

Martin also brings on musicians to play in his Revue Band that are veterans themselves, another point that draws the group closer and joined for a similar cause to help others.

“Music is great therapy,” Martin said. “It keeps me sane. I’m not good at a lot of things, but I’m a good player, but only as good as the people behind me.”

Martin said all the featured bands during the blues festival are donating their time. People can come hear great music, make donations if they wish, enjoy raffles, food, crafts, children’s activities, and find information on Veterans Count and other programs.

To learn more about the upcoming blues festival, contact Dr. Harp at or visit Facebook for information.

Blues Festival

What: Concert featuring several bands with all proceeds supporting homeless veterans
When: Saturday, Aug. 26, noon to 4 p.m.
Where: Londonderry Town Common
Info: call 303-0352

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