Buddy Check: The American Legion Family’s National Outreach Program

As Legionnaires, our most sacred responsibility is to look out for each other and our fellow veterans. The American Legion National Executive Committee passed Resolution 18 during Spring Meetings in May 2019. The resolution called for “Buddy Checks” to be conducted Legion-wide during the weeks of The American Legion’s birthday, March 15, and Veterans Day. The success of the “Buddy Check” program has exceeded expectations and proved to be a valuable year-round method to provide assistance and resources for veterans in need. Results helped confirm that The American Legion is in an ideal position to fill the critical gap between separation from military service and resources or treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans today face the existential crisis of finding new purpose after transition, and coping with posttraumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and other social, economic, mental or physical stressors. This critical time in a veteran’s life is when they are most vulnerable to suicide or other self-harm and The American Legion seeks to be a partner with the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to preserve and protect the lives of our veterans. Suicide awareness and prevention is the most consequential responsibility of our generation of Legionnaires, and the “Buddy Check” is just one of the many ways we hope to address the crisis.