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Military Matters: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 4:25 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) -

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the Mississippi Veterans Affairs has changed the way they communicate and reach out to those struggling.

The Executive Director, Stacey Pickering, said suicide is something that plagues veterans across the country every day.

“Twenty-two veterans and military personnel commit suicide in America every day. Mississippi’s numbers are really no different, so this is a crisis that we have to address; it’s not an option,” said Pickering.

Pickering said the first person most veterans turn to is their local pastor, but with pandemic, things have changed.

“This year we had to get creative, and we did a video to reach out. We’ve been able to publicize that on social media, as well as sharing it directly to clergy, but also it’s available for the general populous,” said Pickering.

The purpose of this video is to make sure they are able to give the tools and resources for a veteran struggling, and even those closest to a veteran struggling, to recognize when there’s a problem and how to get help.

They are communicating multiple times throughout the week to provide the pathway to all resources that are available.

Pickering said veterans of all ages commit suicide every day, but those who have served and now are out, tend to especially be plagued by this tragedy.

“For a lot of our veterans, when they retire or leave active duty, they have a sense of loss. They’ve lost their identity, they’ve lost their tribe, and their sense of community,” said Pickering. “So, isolation and depression are very real things that set in for a lot of veterans. We want to help them walk through that.”

The Veterans Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255, and it can also be found on their official website at www.msva.ms.gov. The link to their Suicide Prevention & Awareness Training Video is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z32YzHf3xmk&t=1740s

Copyright 2020 WTOK. All rights reserved.

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