Organizations host conference to prevent veteran suicides

Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in Michigan.
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 5:54 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Deaths among veterans remain higher than the civilians, with over six-thousand veterans committing suicide each year.

PTSD, injuries, and exposure to toxic chemicals are just a few factors that influence these numbers, says marine veteran Ian Perry.

“Somebody that is in a thought pattern that, a, they’re a burden to people, b, they’re not successful post-transition that creates a groove in the brain. That rumination and that constant cycle puts someone in a depressive state.”

Perry is a part of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The organization hosted an event in East Lansing to address factors that lead to veteran deaths. Perry’s mission is to provide resources to veterans who return to civilian life.

“That first twelve-month period of transitioning from military life is the most critical time.”

Zaneta Adams is an 8-year veteran who began experiencing suicidal thoughts after being discharged due to a fall from a cargo truck during active duty.

“Had two back surgeries and was told I may never walk again, and so out of that, I went into a deep depression and had suicidal ideations for years.”

Adams said what helped save her life were mental health services & resources from The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), where she serves as deputy assistant secretary, but she also said community played the biggest role.

“It was sister veterans who helped me to pull myself out of that, and knowing that you’re not alone in this was super helpful.”

The event’s goal was education, providing veterans, suicide survivors, and their loved ones with information about why these deaths happen and how to stop them.

“One Veteran dying by suicide is one too many.”

And recognizing the signs of depression is the first step. Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in Michigan. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, help is available. Dial the suicide and crisis lifeline at 998 for assistance.

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