HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Wolf Administration is recognizing National Suicide Prevention Month by raising awareness about veteran suicide, which they say affects 20 veterans a day in the U.S.
“Our veterans deserve our gratitude and our support for their service to our country,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “It’s important to show our thanks by providing critical resources to our at-risk veterans. My administration is committed to supporting our veterans in a variety of ways, including suicide prevention efforts.”
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They gathered at the YWCA Greater Harrisburg to discuss how the state wants to help in reducing the number of veteran suicides. Gov. Wolf was joined by the Dept. of Aging, Dept. of Corrections, Dept. of Human Services, Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs and other advocates.
“It is important that we all continue to have discussions about suicide and let our loved ones in crisis know that there is hope,” Daniel L. Jurman, DMin, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Advocacy & Reform said. “Pooling resources and raising awareness is a strong approach to sending the message that we all care and that help is available. Through a number of initiatives, Governor Wolf has kept suicide prevention and behavioral health and wellness in the forefront, and his administration will work vigorously to reduce the number of veteran suicides.”
All involved mentioned the importance of addressing mental health and the variety of support systems throughout the state.
“Veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than Americans who never served in the military, and the risk factor for female veterans is even higher at 2.2 times,” Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the DMVA said.
“No matter your background, mental health and personal crises can touch any of us at any point. When you’re going through this, it can be easy to turn inward and not let others around you know what you’re experiencing, but your life and your health are too important to go through these feelings alone,” DHS Executive Deputy Secretary Andrew Barnes said.
The Wolf Administration says free and confidential support is available 24/7 through their crisis line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, texting to 838255 or chatting online with a professional.