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Mullin' It Over Column

Keeping our Commitment to our Veterans

Every life lost to suicide is one too many, and the prevalence among our nation’s veterans is alarming. In fact, military suicide rates are four times higher than deaths that occurred during military operations in the last 20 years. When our veterans sign up for service, they commit to protecting the lives of all Americans. We must keep our commitment to them and ensure they have the resources needed to combat mental health challenges when they return home.

According to the most recent reporting from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 6,146 veterans lost their lives to suicide in 2020. Mental health and substance use challenges have only been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the isolation and uncertainty many have faced throughout various lockdowns. Tragically, suicide has now become the second leading cause of death among veterans under age 45.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness of this crisis and ensure our loved ones have the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention. Check in on those you love and let them know you care. Listen to them, let them know they’re not alone, and encourage them to seek help. This seemingly small act might save their life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please know help is available. Many of our men and women in uniform who return from war zones face mental health struggles. There are resources available. You can call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 or the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 (dial 1 for veteran care). You can also text the Veterans Crisis Line at 838255.

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