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Liversage: It takes a village to end veteran suicides

September is Suicide Prevention Month for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and many organizations across the country.The statistics related to veteran suicides are startling. An average of 20 veterans die from suicide each day, but only si...

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September is Suicide Prevention Month for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and many organizations across the country.

The statistics related to veteran suicides are startling. An average of 20 veterans die from suicide each day, but only six of these veterans are connected to VA health care.

It is important for all of us to know these tragedies are preventable. Many resources exist to help us combat this issue and get veterans from their crisis to a road of recovery.

One resource is VA's Veterans Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255 and press 1-it is the quickest way to confidentially connect veterans in crisis, their families and friends, with qualified, caring VA responders. Also available for veterans in need of immediate emotional support is an online chat at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat , or a text to 838255.

As the saying goes, "It takes a village," and the Fargo VA is asking for the help of everyone in our communities to make a positive difference in the lives of veterans who are at risk.

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Collaborating with individuals and organizations to identify warning signs and raise awareness of services for veterans is an important component to ending the crisis. I encourage you to visit www.VeteransCrisisLine.net , where you will find several ways to help talk about the issue of suicide and connect our veterans with the care they have earned.

For those interested in hosting a suicide prevention training or outreach event for your community, business or organization, please contact the Fargo VA's suicide prevention coordinator at (701) 239-3700 extension 93556.

Liversage is director of the Fargo VA Health Care System.

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