CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Editor's Note: This story discusses suicide. Reader discretion is advised.
They have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms but many veterans struggle after they've returned home.
“Veterans are trained to meet challenges head-on but veterans also are the last to take a look at what their needs are individually from a prevention or maintenance perspective that can lead to issues or things piling up,” Dr. Matthew Miller, a veteran who now works in the VA said.
Data shows since September 11, 2001, four times more veterans have died by suicide than in combat. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans are at a 50% higher risk of suicide than civilians, prompting the need for a ten-year strategy to end veteran suicide.
This year, the VA launched a new ad campaign “don’t wait, reach out.”
“It’s messaging that’s created by shaped by and delivered by veterans,” Miller said. “So, if you want to know what veterans’ message is right now, if you want to know what’s on their minds, it’s don’t wait, reach out.”
The website makes resources to support mental and physical health, finances, education, housing and more easily accessible. It’s available for friends and family of veterans too.
An effort to protect those who have protected us.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call 988.