Kevin, a Veteran, father, and counselor, speaks about how conversations about firearm safety may change over time.
When is it safe to bring the guns/pills/etc. out of storage?
● Not just when the acute crisis is over
Acute crises are often very brief, but the period in which the person remains at risk can go on for some time. Lots of things can reignite a risky situation, and it’s hard to predict when these might happen.
● Wait until there has been a good long period with no serious downturns
“When I struggled with depression there were times when it would magically let up, and I’d think, ‘Finally! It’s over.’ And a few days later, back it came. Finally it was gone for a few months, and I realized, wow, I think I can say it’s over.”
Has the Veteran learned new coping strategies to use if/when problems arise?
Has there been at least a few months without serious downturns?
and the person has healthy ways of coping with difficulties that come up and has good insight about when things are getting harder and easier–those are all good signs that storage can return to the new normal. What that new normal is really depends on the person.
It is time to come up with some new strategies. This is where counseling can help–whether from a professional, Veteran peer counselor, clergy, etc. Already been doing that? Time to switch. Try a counselor with a different approach, or ask about trying a different medication. Something will work. No one is meant to go on suffering.
If the Veteran is still suffering, it means they haven’t found the right help yet, but it’s out there. Learn about more options for getting help.