O.H.S.O Brewing Company in Arizona is doing the most to get the Suicide Prevention Hotline in people’s heads, and for good reason. Jon Lane, the founder of O.H.S.O, has a personal tie to the hotline and what it aims to do; he has lost 10 friends in the past 30 years, according to an interview with Craft Beer. That’s almost 3 people every 10 years. Losing anyone to suicide is a terrible tragedy. But that many people in, really, not a very long amount of time is truly devastating.
“I’ve lost a lot of really good people that I don’t think they knew it was okay to talk about it,” Lane said. “They didn’t want to reach out because it was taboo.”
So, Lane, along with fellow Arizona brewers, is taking the hotline and literally putting it into peoples’ hands.
Lane created a beer called 800-273-TALK, which is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This way, he says, people see the unusual beer name on menus and want to ask questions about it. He’s aiming for awareness of the hotline and the options that are out there for people who are struggling.
“I hope that people in our industry, in every industry, see this and they react in a positive way,” Lane said, “and call that friend they haven’t called in a long time that they know is struggling, talk to that person that just went through a traumatic point in their life and check in on them, check on neighbors that are struggling, or your friends that haven’t had the best time.”
Lane will donate $1 of every sale of the beer to suicide prevention organizations, but donating isn’t the main goal; he says it’s mostly about getting the word out there about available resources.
More than Just Beer: Raising Awareness of Veteran Suicide
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and it’s important to remember that veterans are at a higher risk of suicide. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the U.S. among people aged 10 to 34. Additionally, the overall percentage of suicide deaths has increased 35% in 22 years, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“In the general population, we see about 50,000 deaths by suicide every year, and that’s just over the U.S. entirely,” Dr. Peter Warren, Manager of the Suicide Prevention Program with the Columbia, South Carolina VA Health Care System, told ABC Columbia. “Veterans make up about 20% of that number.”
That’s a huge percentage, considering veterans only make up about 5% of the U.S. population. “It’s an illness just as if you were having cancer or anything else,” said Andrew Selking, an Army veteran from South Carolina. “And so getting help is really no different than you would get help for any physical illness.”
In August, two U.S. Army veterans, along with 33 civilians, participated in the 2,000 burpee challenge to raise awareness of veteran suicide. In Johnson City, Tennessee, the group performed 2,000 burpees over the entire month, in partnership with Stop Soldier Suicide. The organization takes donations and also sets up various exercise-based challenges around the U.S.
For veterans in crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a specific veteran hotline that can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255 and then pressing 1.