More WV Veterans At Risk For Suicide

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One in five West Virginia veterans are at risk for suicide. The findings from a survey done by a WVU professor are accurate, according to suicide prevention officers.

"West Virginia has more veterans than any other state per capita. So we have a wide dynamic there we need to cover," says WV Suicide Prevention Officer, LT. Travis Willard.

More veterans means more chances of developing depression, and according to a new survey, one in five West Virginia veterans are at risk for suicide. But just like suicide help for civilians, there's help for veterans.

"Our main goal with the suicide prevention program in West Virginia is to focus on resiliency, to take the proactive approach in regards to suicide and all behavior health concerns.Our main intent is to try to build these resilience strategies with our service members and family members so they can thrive in the face of adversity, opposed to experiencing post-traumatic-stress."

When many people think of a soldier having depression, they may think it's because of the horrible things they see in war, but specialists say that's actually not the case.

"Most of the suicides we experience in West Virginia are actually non-combat veterans. They're typically males between the ages of 18 and 25 and more often than not it's due to relationship issues or financial concerns.We found that the service members coming home from combat, even though they may have experienced some traumatic events while there, it almost gives them a better perspective. A lot of times they value life more."

Valuing life and valuing family. Programs offered for veterans are also available for their families.

"There's also transition teams that help military members and their families transition back into civilian life and become successful members of society again."

Specialists in West Virginia are determined to change these statistics, using education as a form of therapy.

"It gives them the tools that they can use themselves. It focuses on self awareness and self regulation."

Specialists say the rate for veterans suicide is around the same of civilian suicide. They say education is key and people shouldn't be afraid to ask for help.

If you or someone you know may need help, you're encouraged to call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

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