VA and Ad Council launch national campaign to reduce veteran suicide

Ahead of Veterans Day, New Don’t Wait, Reach Out Effort Encourages Distressed Veterans To Seek Help Before They Reach Crisis Point

Posted: October 26, 2021 at 11:58 a.m. EDT|Update: 8 hours ago

WASHINGTON, October 26, 2021 / PRNewswire / – There is hope. The resources are available and the treatment can work. Suicide is preventable. The suicide rate among veterans in 2019 was 52% higher than that of non-veteran adults in the United States, according to the 2021 Veteran Suicide Prevention annual report. As part of their ongoing efforts to tackle this national crisis, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Advertising Council are today launching a new national campaign: “Don’t wait, reach for yourself”. Public Service Ads (PSAs) encourage veterans to seek help before their challenges become overwhelming, directing the public to, a new website with comprehensive resources for veterans.

Check out the interactive multi-channel press release here:

“Suicide is preventable. De-stigmatizing asking for help plays an important role in our public health approach to preventing suicide among Veterans and their families, ”Secretary said Denis mcdonough, US Department of Veterans Affairs. “Through this campaign, we can spread hope that veterans and all of us can survive life’s emotional and difficult crises. This includes taking simple, straightforward steps to check on each other and encourage seeking help. Don’t wait, reach out. “

“Veterans are trained to be resilient. Stigma can make it difficult to call for help, ”said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Advertising Council. “Our hope is that struggling veterans see themselves and their challenges reflected in this campaign, and that we inspire them to reach out before life reaches a boiling point.

PSA’s strategy, created pro bono by creative agency TBWA Chiat Day NY, was based on extensive research and included veterans in production. TV commercials portray a wide range of veterans, all portrayed by actual veterans, approaching their “boiling point” in a variety of stressful scenarios and the relief that follows once they ask for help. ‘aid.

“I am a Marine Corps veteran and have battled suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety and PTSD for years. Reaching out has saved my life,” said Wes rhodes, Associate Editor for TBWA Chiat Day New York. “Veterans grapple with the same things that all humans do, so please share your stories and struggles. Get help early and often. Something as simple as checking each other out can be a saving act. “

All campaign PSAs direct the public to, a website that makes it easier for Veterans to find referral and support services among all of VA’s offerings. The friendly experience invites veterans to identify specific life challenges they may be grappling with, such as sleep disturbances or financial stress, and then offers the appropriate resources for their unique needs. The website was designed by Viget, a digital innovation agency, and developed by Reingold, an award-winning full-service communications company.

“We all benefit from connecting with each other and seeking help when we need it. Veterans are service to others, protecting us all through their service, ”said Brian williams, co-founder and CEO of Viget. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the VA and the Ad Council to provide Veterans with an intuitive and personalized experience to help them contact specific resources when needed.”

The campaign is part of VA’s 10-year strategy to end veteran suicide through a comprehensive public health approach. According to the 2021 annual VA National Suicide Prevention Report:

  • While the veteran suicide rate declined significantly and significantly in 2019, the veteran suicide rate in 2019 was 52.3% higher than that of non-veteran U.S. adults. This is a drop from its previous record of over 60%, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
  • Firearms were involved in 69.2% of veteran suicides in 2019, compared to 47.9% of non-veteran adult suicides.

The “Don’t wait, hold out your hand” PSAs will appear nationally in media time and space, in all advertising formats: broadcast, radio, digital, social, display and print. Reddit, Yahoo! and YouTube are among the media platforms that have pledged to support the campaign. The PSAs will also be distributed to the Advertising Council’s network of more than 1,850 broadcast television stations and 9,500 radio stations across the country.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and emergency response available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. . Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255 or chat online at

Journalists covering this issue can download the VA Secure Messaging Best Practices fact sheet or visit for important tips on how to communicate about suicide.

About the Advertising Council
The Ad Council is the place where creativity and causes converge. The nonprofit brings together the most creative minds in advertising, media, technology and marketing to tackle many of the country’s most important causes. The Ad Council has created many of the most iconic campaigns in advertising history. Friends don’t let their friends drive drunk. Smoky bear. Love has no labels.

The Advertising Council’s innovative social welfare campaigns raise awareness, inspire action and save lives. To learn more, visit, follow the Advertising Council communities on Facebook and Twitter, and view the creation on YouTube.

Do not wait, contact the ad for a bus shelter
Don't wait, contact the print ad
Don't wait, contact the print ad 2
(PRNewsfoto / The Ad Council New York)

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SOURCE Advertising Council

The above press release has been provided courtesy of PRNewswire. The views, opinions and statements contained in the press release are not endorsed by Gray Media Group and do not necessarily state or reflect those of Gray Media Group, Inc.

About Michael S. Montanez

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