On Monday night, actor James Woods went all-in to help save a suicidal veteran who had tweeted that he was going to kill himself. Although the vet deleted his tweets, a look at Woods’ tweets gives a pretty clear idea of the dialogue Woods initiated and Woods’ efforts to help keep the vet talking while Woods launched a search to find him. In the process, Woods showed his empathy by acknowledging that he, too, like most people, had experienced some depression at one time in his life, and encouraged the vet to hold on so that he could be an inspiration to other vets who experience the same feelings.
Woods' persistence may well have saved the vet's life. Here's how events unfolded:
One veteran, moved by Woods' efforts to save a fellow vet, tweeted his appreciation:
Then, some possible good news:
USA Today reported:
Maitland Police Public Information Officer Lt. Louis Y. Grindle informed USA TODAY Tuesday morning that authorities were able to reach MacMasters, though his whereabouts are unknown."Our agency was able to make contact with him by phone earlier this morning, where he advised he was OK but did not wish to have contact with law enforcement," the emailed statement read. "Our officers are still working to try and physically locate him to determine his well-being."
Woods' father, Gail Peyton Woods, was an army intelligence officer. The protean actor's first film break came in the legendary director Elia Kazan's 1972 film, "The Visitor," in which Woods played a Vietnam veteran, a role that was the beginning of his long and storied career.
In September 2017, Woods tweeted, "So long as a single veteran is homeless, I'm only interested in spending tax $$ on the needs of American citizens. After that, we'll see.."
Stars and Stripes reported in June:
The VA released its newest National Suicide Data Report on Monday, which includes data from 2005 through 2015. Much in the report remained unchanged from two years ago, when the VA reported suicide statistics through 2014. Veteran suicide rates are still higher than the rest of the population, particularly among women.
In both reports, the VA said an average of 20 veterans succumbed to suicide every day. In its newest version, the VA was more specific. The report shows the total is 20.6 suicides every day. Of those, 16.8 were veterans and 3.8 were active-duty servicemembers, guardsmen and reservists, the report states. That amounts to 6,132 veterans and 1,387 servicemembers who died by suicide in one year. The VA's 2012 report stated 22 veterans succumbed to suicide every day – a number that’s still often cited incorrectly. That number also included active-duty troops, Guard and Reserve, VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour said Wednesday.
Acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke said in June, "Suicide remains a top clinical priority. One life lost to suicide is one too many. Suicide is a serious public health concern in the Veteran population and across all communities nationwide. These data offer important insights to help VA to build effective networks of support, communication and care that reach veterans where they live and thrive.”