Veterans Suicide a Concern Beyond Veterans Day

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November 8, 2013 — Hoosiers will celebrate Veterans Day on Monday, but experts who serve veterans’ mental health issues say their concern is an every day battle.  Local agencies are finding unique ways to serve area veterans.

Today, community members chose to listen to a panel of experts, including veterans, who met at Indiana University Northwest to discuss the resources their organizations could share to curb suicides among local veterans.

Disparities like a high rate of suicide among people who have served their country.  A Department of Veteran’s Affairs study this year estimates that 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the United States.

Dr. Henry Hitchcock says those numbers make his agency vital, Veterans Life Changing Services in Gary, “What we basically do at Veterans’ Life Changing Services, we restore hope.”

The 32-bed facility opened its doors and has provided housing and holistic services for more than 100 veterans.

Veteran Jason Hughes served three tours in the army, and he says he has healed since going to the home last March, “You kind of settle down again.  You’re not literally in a war zone.  You can work on your life, and there’s people here to help you.  There’s people here.  We’ve got each other’s backs.  It leaves a mark on you.  It’s impossible not to.”

Panelist and family therapist Nicole Manick says some veterans battle inner emotions that they’re not able to share, “Anger is the only safe emotion, and, I talk to a lot of my veterans about this, and I talk about the reason for that is, when you’re in combat you don’t feel safe, when you’re crying about your mom, you know, missing your family. You have to stay focused, and anger is the emotion that helps you stay focused, and it helps you to stay alive.”

The panel was an effort to help serve those people who have already served their country.

By Hilary Powell


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