HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — “Internal, invisible and intangible.” That’s how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) describes the signs and factors that can lead up to veteran suicide.

Suicide statistics from the VA show a painful reality: on average, 17 veterans die by suicide every day.

According to the VA, what can make mental health struggles worse for some vets is that they are pretty much trained to downplay their burdens and discomfort and put their mission first.

The VA says the “signs of crisis are signs that a veteran is struggling and may be heading toward a crisis or having thoughts of suicide.”

Experts say there is no single cause for suicide, but if you are a veteran or if you have a veteran in your life, knowing what to look out for could prevent a negative outcome.

According to the VA, some of the more common signs of a potential crisis include:

  • neglecting personal appearance
  • engaging in impulsive, risky activities
  • giving away prized possessions
  • Securing long-term care for pets
  • missing doctor’s appointments
  • no response to calls or texts.

The VA also says although they can be “internal, invisible and intangible,” there are some more common factors we can look out for that could play a role in or lead to a crisis for a veteran:

  • Job loss: Losing employment can cause you to feel a lack of purpose.
  • Chronic pain: When you don’t think you can feel better, you may lose hope.
  • Insomnia: Lack of sleep can interfere with your job and family responsibilities.
  • Financial or relationship issues: Both can cause intense stress in your daily life.
  • The transition from military to civilian life: This can be disorienting, leading to feelings of isolation and loss of identity.
  • Hidden wounds, including PTSD and survivor’s guilt: These can potentially lead to depression, anxiety or thoughts of suicide.

The national suicide and crisis lifeline, 988, also has a veterans crisis line.

If you or a veteran you care about is in crisis, dial 988 and press 1.

You can also chat with someone online here or text 838-255.

More information on the VA’s suicide prevention efforts can be found here.