Each year 5 thousand u-s veterans take their own lives. While that may be only a fraction of the total amount of suicides in America each year, it's a number that cannot be ignored.
Operation "S.A.V.E" is a program that was launched to help save the lives of veterans.
The program focuses on suicide prevention by teaching participants what to look for and what to ask if they think a veteran may be suicidal.
"Soldiers are at higher risk because of their memories of the war, intrusive thoughts or flashbacks that people can have from combat." Says Beverly Benson, a Suicide Prevention Coordinator
Bad memories of war are not the only things that can trigger a soldiers mind, everyday problems that civilians face are also taking a toll on veterans.
"The country is economically in bad shape and he doesn’t know what he is going to happen and he is getting shot at everyday- its a bad situation so when they come back they have a lot on their mind." Says Fred Griffin, Coordinator of The Lower Alabama Veteran's Alliance.
Veterans of all ages are at risk for depression and suicide, but those over the age of 65 are at the highest risk.
"Because they are either widowed or divorced, they are living alone, and they have chronic health problems that leaves them in pain and they live in isolation." Says Benson.
In order to give each veteran specialized care, age-appropriate support groups have been set up to help veterans.
Soon we will be seeing public service announcements airing on television about veterans and suicide, which goes to show this issue is being taken seriously.
It is anticipated that this program will reduce the likelihood of attempted and completed suicides.
If you would like more information on suicide prevention you can call the National Suicide Prevention line- the number is 1-800-2783-TALK.