Ep 181: Warrior Call – Dealing with Rising Military Suicide Rates

Frank Larkin is a former Navy SEAL and so was his son Ryan, who died by suicide in 2017. As part of his commitment to Troops First and its Warrior Call initiative, Larkin says he wants to educate people about undiagnosed physical injuries to the brain that warriors may suffer during their service, as with Ryan, that can spark a downward spiral.

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Larkin has served as a Navy SEAL, as a Maryland State Trooper-Flight Paramedic, as a special agent for 21 years in the U.S. Secret Service rising to deputy assistant director and chief technology officer, and for nearly four years as the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms. He also served as a senior leader in the Department of Defense’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, the combat support agency tasked with countering IED’s and extremist organizations employing them against U.S. forces, and in senior positions at Raytheon Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and SAP National Security Services. He volunteers as a firefighter-paramedic with the Annapolis, Maryland, Fire Department.

About the Warrior Call organization:

WHO IS WARRIOR CALL:

We are a network of former active-duty service members and veterans, their friends and families whose aim is to save lives and curtail suicides among those who served the nation.

WHAT WE DO:

We spur greater connection. We make calls to warriors — to veterans and service members who may be isolated and disconnected from services. We steer them to services. We encourage all Americans to make these warrior calls. Together, we save lives.

WHY WARRIOR CALL IS ESSENTIAL:

Many of those who are suffering are not seeking help or treatment, thus reinforcing the need for a call to these warriors from a former battle buddy, friend or family member.

Up to two-thirds of veterans who take their own lives have had no contact with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The COVID pandemic has only increased isolation and disconnection.

According to the VA, researchers have identified social isolation as “arguably the strongest and most reliable predictor of suicidal ideation, [suicide] attempts and lethal suicidal behavior.”
Invisible wounds linked to an underlying and undiagnosed traumatic brain injury can mirror many mental health conditions, underscoring the need to connect with service members and veterans and steer them to services.

The rapid unraveling of Afghanistan has spurred anguish and frustration among those who served there.

HOW YOU CAN HELP – MAKE A WARRIOR CALL:


Whether you are a veteran, active-duty service member, national guard, family member or friend, you can make a difference by connecting with someone who is wearing or who has worn the uniform. Connecting can facilitate honest dialogue, create a desire to stay in contact and help define a viable path forward.
Here’s what to do:


1) Make a call and connection to a warrior.

2) Have an honest conversation. See how they are doing.

3) Connect them with Vets4Warriors, a clearinghouse for resources. Their contact information is 1-855-838- 8255 and www.vets4warriors.com

Social Media links:

Twitter: @warriorcallday

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/warriorcallday

Episode Resources:

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