HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — According to the Pennsylvania VALOR Clinic Foundation, each day across the nation 22 veterans lose their lives to suicide.
The organization says this number is tragic, and to encourage prevention and awareness, a rally was held at the Pennsylvania State Capitol.
Veterans at the veteran suicide rally share how this heartbreaking reality can affect so many lives and their families, and how much more work needs to be done.
At Soldier’s Grove Memorial Park, just steps away from the Pennsylvania State Capitol, several veterans loved ones, and supporters stood in solidarity for the ones who risked it all and rallied together against veteran suicide which not only affects men but women veterans too.
Get daily news, weather, breaking news and alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here
“And we need more studies to create understanding we need more studies on the social conflict piece of things,” Mark Baylis said.
Baylis is the Founder and CEO of the VALOR Clinic Foundation and says new ideas and research needs to be done to help fight veteran suicide.
“I would hope that people would leave with the understanding of what’s creating the social conflict and the social conflict seems to be an accumulative burden that people carry,” Baylis said.
Baylis sees this as many rally speakers share their stories, like United States veteran Earl Granville.
“I didn’t know where to go after high school and I saw Joe was joining the military so I thought hey maybe I can do that too,” Granville said.
In a speech at the veteran’s suicide rally, Granville said right after high school he and his twin brother Joe enlisted into the United States military.
He said this created a special bond in his time of service.
Yet, in 2010 Granville says his mother called him saying that his twin brother killed himself.
“Understand you don’t have to carry this weight by yourself, as a community we want to see people succeed, lift each other up and find that help and the path they need for happiness once again,” Granville said.
Veterans say raising awareness and prevention can help veteran suicide numbers decline.
“Our Afghanistan veterans are really taking this personal and we’re afraid that we’re losing even more than our average and even the average is unacceptable,” American Legion Riders 927 President Everett Shaver said.