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Veteran suicide: a small window to the actual problem

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Veteran suicide: a small window to the actual problem

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According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, 22 veterans commit suicide every day, rounding out to 8,000 a year. USA today reported that suicide among veterans has now surpassed the number of soldiers who died in action serving in the Afghanistan and Iraq. These numbers do not include veterans who are not enrolled in Veteran Affairs’ health care and thus are expected to be higher.

For suicide prevention month, PCC’s Veteran Resource Center worked with The Los Angeles Vet Center Suicide Prevention team to assemble the Suicide Awareness Conference to help address what has now become an epidemic among veterans. Panels included veterans and their experience with suicide, how they cope with their trauma and how to appropriately respond to those who are high risk of suicide.

“We’ve had a veteran commit suicide on campus on our watch,” said Carol M. Calandra, PCC’s Veteran Center specialist. “ I think it’s one of the main reasons why we try so hard to bring awareness.”

An anonymous journal entry was presented to the conference that describes a veteran who seeks help to “avoid suicidal thoughts and behavior.” The entry reveals that the veteran has seen six men he served with commit suicide.

“It’s different from just looking at statistics and then actually listening to people that have seen or attempted to commit suicide … These are the voices that are so important,” said Calandra.

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