Veterans suicide prevention examined

An estimated 22 veterans take their own lives every day in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and it’s an issue that will be addressed locally by the Orlando VA.

The public is invited to the 11 a.m. program on Tuesday at the Leesburg Public Library, 100 E. Main St.

Numerous cases of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan taking their own lives has made headlines in recent years, yet in a story published in Stars and Stripes, which was initially printed Nov. 16 in the St. Cloud Times, it is not just recently deployed veterans who are dying by suicide.

The vast majority of veterans who commit suicide are older than 55, said Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, a national nonprofit based in Bloomington, Minn., who noted that many of the older veterans have had lengthy battles with post-traumatic stress, substance abuse or anxiety.

“They live with these things for years and sometimes decades,”

Reidenberg said in the St. Cloud Times.

“And then they start facing some of the other issues that the general population has, with physical limitations, concerns about income, concerns about their purpose and their role in life, their ability to function independently.”

Dusty Matthews, adult services librarian for Leesburg Public Library, said in a press release that seven out of 10 veterans who commit suicide are over the age of 50, and he also noted young male veterans are three times more likely to commit suicide than civilians their own age.

Family members or veterans who need immediate assistance are encouraged to call the Veteran Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.



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