Face the Fight logo

Together, we can face the fight against veteran suicide.

Find Help for
Yourself & Others

If you or someone you know is struggling upon returning home and needs immediate, professional help–call the Suicide and Crisis Hotline and press 1 for veteran support or visit the website to talk with a VA responder.

Join the Fight

Stanley Sanders

U.S. Navy | Retired

Stan was a Yeoman Petty Officer 2nd Class in the Navy, serving from ’84 to ’91. In 2000, he became a police officer and served there for 18 years.

He was working in 2017 when he received a call for a 17-year-old who had laid down in front of a nearby train and died by suicide. Stan, himself, had to break the horrifying news to the boy’s parents which left him with nightmares, pain, and a bottle to numb it all.

Even with his loving wife Britton and 4 kids at home, Stan could only think of one way to make this constant pain go away. “Nothing about suicide really makes sense. But when you’re in that frame of mind, it seems to make perfect sense.” He says, “I told her, “I wasn’t gonna make it’ and she drove me right to the emergency room, where my battle really began.”

“To Face the Fight means not giving up hope… and to keep finding out that you’re worth it.”

His wife, Britton, thinks of his ability to ask for help as a sign of strength. She says, “mental health should not have the stigma it has around it because that’s what’s killing people.” Veterans and the general public shouldn’t have to get to the point where they attempt to die by suicide before getting help. “We need to create a space where people feel safe to come out and ask for help before. Even if it’s not the crisis lines, but just telling a friend,” Britton explains.

Stan went to a psychological hospital and Britton supported him on his road to recovery. He says, “To Face the Fight means not giving up hope…and to keep finding out that you’re worth it.”

After being in horse therapy programs, Stan ended up working with Blackhorse for Heroes to help other veterans who are undergoing a mental health crisis. “We’re veterans, we fight and we never stop. But you know, this battle against our own demons, we don’t have to be alone in it.”

“I don’t think anything is more important to me than preventing veteran suicide and making sure they know they’re important.”

Facing the Facts

Melissa Lopez

U.S. Army Reserves | Active

Going on 17 years, Melissa’s military service has included two deployments to Iraq where she fought for her country.

She didn’t face depression or thoughts of suicide right after coming home, the feelings took time to develop as coping mechanisms failed or faded away. She felt like she didn’t have an official support system to turn to.

So, she started within — as an advocate for herself. But after she saw what happened to her family in the wake of her sister’s death by suicide, she knew she had to be open for help.

She wasn’t herself. Not laughing or engaging, feeling exhausted, letting details slip and putting herself in situations where she could seem fine.

“Veteran suicide can happen to anybody, to the happiest person in the room,” she says.

Melissa’s advice: If you find yourself deep into suicidal thoughts, call the 988 hotline. Reach out to leadership. Talk to friends; people who’ve gone through it. You’ll be surprised. There is no shame. You’re not crazy.

Today, Melissa works with an understanding therapist. She’s opened up to her friends and family. She’s found a support-person who checks in when she acts out of character or seems to be having a hard time.

“The colors come back slowly,” she says. But with the courage to ask for help — and continuing to ask for help — there is hope in the fight. “And it’s worth it. It’s worth holding on for.”

Committed to Veterans

Founded by USAA, Face the Fight is a coalition of corporations, foundations, nonprofit and veteran-focused organizations joined together to raise awareness and support for veteran suicide prevention. Our mission is to break the stigmas surrounding suicide in order to open conversation and support around the topic. Facing the reality of veteran suicide is a struggle. But when people face this fight together there is hope.

Join the Fight

Share This Site to Show Your Support

Together, we can #FaceTheFight and give hope to all our veterans.

Vernard Hines

U.S. Army | Retired

As a professional comedian, Vernard loves to make people laugh. But there was a time in his life that he couldn’t find the laughter.

“I did 20 years, seven months, and four days. I was a signal soldier. I love being a signal soldier. I love communicating. I love talking,” he says.

His transition from the military to civilian life was rough because he didn’t recognize that something was wrong. “I figured if I could go to war and do everything over there, I could come back here and just be the regular me.”

Vernard turned to alcohol to escape the present.

“I wasn’t there. I was working, paying the bills, doing what I was supposed to do — but I wasn’t present. There was something in the back of my mind telling me that I didn’t even need to be there anymore.”

His daughter was afraid of him, his now ex-wife said the husband she knew died in Iraq, and he wasn’t the person who’d left.

“I was 24 hours away from killing myself. I knew the plan. I had set it up. I was going to leave a note for my family.”

It’s not your fault. It’s all my fault. You’re better off without me.

Vernard decided to speak up instead, to talk to a pastor who helped him find the resources he needed.

“Back then, there wasn’t the 988 hotline. But even if you don’t call it — you have to talk to someone. You are worth it. You. Are. Worth. It.

Now, Vernard is there for others who find themselves in critical moments.

The veterans he’s helped are “still here to this day. That’s what Face the Fight means to me. Going to veteran’s hospitals and recovery centers. Helping people laugh.”

Known as The Laugh Therapist, Vernard now takes time out every two weeks to work with veterans at a 45-day residential facility in Portsmouth, VA called Safe Harbor Recovery. “Being able to give back to veterans is why I get up in the morning. But I’m not THE resource. I am just a resource.”

That’s why he’s a part of Face the Fight, “and the reason I want other veterans to get involved is that it's an ongoing fight. We don’t leave anyone behind. You are fighting for your life. You're fighting for your family. You are fighting for whatever is in your life worth fighting for.

Fighting is in our DNA. Keep fighting. We’re in this together. There are resources. If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like yelling, yell. You will not be judged. We’re on the same team.”

Shareable Images

Choose an image and share the fight with your network.

Save Image

Face The Fight Merchandise

Show Your Support

Shop Now

Román Baca

U.S. Marine Corps | Veteran

Before becoming a Marine, achieving the rank of sergeant, and deploying to Fallujah, Iraq in 2005 — Román was a dancer.

“I wanted to help people, I wanted to contribute to something larger than myself. So, I joined the Marine Corps.”

It wasn’t until he returned home that he realized the toll that contribution had taken. He knew he’d stepped away from the arts, from his passion. But it was one conversation with the woman who ultimately became his wife that opened his eyes to the impact his experiences had on him.

“She said that the person in front of her was angry, depressed, anxious — and mean. She said people were afraid of me. And that wasn’t the person I wanted to be.”

Román knew there was this thing aching to come out of him. Something that only he could tell the world. So, he started a dance company that put tales of war and survivorship on the stage.

“We started to tell people about the experiences that we’d had in Iraq, on patrol, working amongst locals. We told about the war we saw, the crazy things that happened — that didn’t look like the war that was on television, or on the radio or in newspapers — to see if we could make sense of them.”

Through dance, Román has shared the stories of veteran after veteran who died by suicide — what he calls a horrible epidemic. He even helped a member of his troop choreograph the story of her brother, who died by suicide three days before he was set to leave Afghanistan for the second time. The piece was performed in Arlington National Cemetery, just steps from his grave.

“Having lost so many friends to suicide has made my personal mission stronger,” he says. “It takes bravery and courage to face the fight. Exposing their personal stories and who they are is extremely scary. I’ve seen people do a lot of brave things. But I haven’t seen anything as brave as that.”

In this journey, the hardest thing for Román has been to share his own story.

“It’s hard to ask for help, to lean on others and to explain why you feel the way you do. But you are not alone. There are people around you that care about you. There are people around who will listen. It’s hard. But you have to start talking.”


Are you or is someone you know at risk? These resources can help all of us face the fight against veteran suicide.

Get Help in Crisis

Veteran Crisis Line

If you need help, call the Suicide & Crisis Hotline at 988 then press 1 for 24/7 confidential crisis support for veterans and their loved ones.

Get Peer-Support

Get Mental Health Treatment

Get Military Transition Support

Get Career Support

Get Financial Resources

Get Connected

Get Helpful Mobile Apps

Get Involved

The Coalition Committed to the Fight

Face the Fight is a coalition of corporations, foundations, non-profit and veteran-focused organizations joined together to raise awareness and support for veteran suicide prevention.

Invite a coalition member to speak at your event or learn more about applying for a potential Face the Fight grant today.

Join the Coalition

Founding Members

Humana Foundation

Creating healthy emotional connections for veterans is at the core of the Humana Foundation’s strategy. We have thousands of dedicated employees and are advancing equitable health outcomes for underserved veterans no matter their age, race, or gender. In partnership with the Face the Fight coalition members, the Humana Foundation is focused on decreasing military suicides through innovation and removing the systemic barriers that prevent veterans from achieving and sustaining a healthy lifestyle.

Reach Resilience

We advance the longstanding commitment to our veterans and their families by prioritizing suicide prevention through a proven, holistic wellness approach that focuses on health, healing and hope. Through this partnership, Reach Resilience works to address the risks of suicide by providing mental health support, transition and financial assistance, housing, and case management, so all veterans have the opportunity to live healthy, fulfilling lives.


We founded and spearheaded the Face the Fight coalition to provide grants to leading non-profits, commit philanthropic investments — starting with $10M over an 18-month period, and encourage others to provide funding and solutions for our veterans at risk.


America’s Warrior PartnershipAmerican LegionAMVETSAmerican Psychological Association (APA)Blue Star FamiliesBob Woodruff FoundationCenterstoneComcast NBCUniversalCohen Veterans NetworkColumbia Lighthouse ProjectCrisis Text LineCVS HealthDisabled American VeteransElizabeth Dole FoundationThe Headstrong ProjectHiring Our HeroesIndependence FundIVMF SyracuseLockheed MartinMilitary Family Advisory Network (MFAN)Military Officers Association of AmericaMinority Veterans of AmericaNational Military Family Association (NMFA)PhilipsObjective ZeroOracle HealthParalyzed Veterans of AmericaPsychArmorStop Soldier SuicideStudent Veterans of AmericaTAPSTriWest Healthcare AllianceThe USAA Educational FoundationUSAA FoundationThe University of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioVeterans of Foreign WarsVeteran Spouse NetworkVets4WarriorsWounded Warrior Project