TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Arizona State University’s Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety released a report on Tuesday. It showed that one out of every five suicides in Arizona from 2015-2019 were veterans. Tucson’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center is dedicated to supporting veterans suffering from physical or emotional trauma.
“A lot of times, just opening up and not holding it in can provide a lot of immediate relief," said Kady Walker, Veteran’s Affairs Suicide Prevention Coordinator.
The first step to get help is to call the VA’s 24/7 crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255, option 1 for veterans. Anyone can call - including a spouse, friend or neighbor - for any reason. You can also text a crisis responder at 838255.
“Often, the responders are veterans themselves, so they really can relate to that caller because they may have gone through similar things,” Walker said.
The caller will be connected to services depending on what’s needed. There is a large variety of options, including a mental health clinic to speak with professionals.
“Substance use services, therapy, psychiatry for medication management, housing and homeless services, vocational services,” Walker said.
To help veterans navigate their resources, the VA recently launched a campaign called “Don't wait, reach out”. If you go to their website, it will then guide you to a list of personalized resources to get help.
“They know that the VA probably offers it they just don’t know how to start the process,” Walker said.
Organizations like Nami Southern Arizona and La Frontera Arizona have more mental health resources, but they're not specifically geared towards veterans.
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