National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish.

Call 800-273-8255 and select 1

Text 838255 Start a confidential chat

Call TTY if you have hearing loss 800-799-4889

Suicide Awareness/Prevention


     You’ve often heard the phrase “I’m not my brother’s keeper.” Do you know it’s origin? It comes from the Bible and it was Cain that first asked “Am I my brothers keeper?”  Most folks feel that they should not be responsible for another’s whereabouts or actions….Most feel that if you’re an adult you should have consequences for your actions…Somewhat true…..

     In the military we were taught differently …. I recall one girl smiling in formation during basic training which, caused the whole squad to do extra laps and lose our liberty. What do you think the lesson was there? What value do you think they were trying to instill in us at that particular time?

     My take is that we are our brothers/sisters keepers… we have each other’s back and keep each other from getting in trouble, being late or getting reprimanded. If one looks good, we all look good. This concept saved our skin on deployment as well. We learned to have each other’s back. I’ve got your six! (It is now a ubiquitous term in the military that highlights the loyalty and cooperation found in military culture.)

   As Veterans we carry on with numerous military traditions and courtesies… We also pride ourselves in our camaraderie (A spirit of trust and goodwill among people closely associated in an activity or endeavor.) We love to meet and exchange stories of our time in service… And we love to take part in volunteering to ensure our brothers and sisters, widows and orphans are not forgotten. We wear our military pride gear and connect with other veterans wherever we go because we care. We are connected!

     The Military Order of the Purple Heart USA cares and has put as priority the well being of our veterans and their families. As Suicide Awareness project officer and peer instructor I am committed and extremely passionate about our outreach. How can I do this? My answer is, with the help of each and everyone of you (Patriots, Associates and Auxiliary members)…We each have groups of people we meet with or have met at one time or another. I suggest you go through your rosters and break down the list and have each active member call a few people just to chat. Write note cards to say you’re thinking about someone you have not seen in awhile. If you exchanged business cards at your last convention or meeting go ahead and check on those folks. As we all know sadness, anxiety, depression and symptoms of PTSD can affect anyone of us and hearing a kind voice may be helpful. Be ready with resources in your area in case someone may need to know where to go or call for help. The act of kindness and listening may be what saves a life. We’re in this together!

Jo Keller

Military Order of the Purple Heart

National Suicide Awareness Program Officer

Dept of California Commander 

MOPH Chapter 2929 Life Member

Get more resources at:


calvet logo.jpg

California Veterans Health Initiative

to Combat Suicide and Address Mental Health