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Suicide Rates Are Down

 

Last updated 10/18/2022 at 11:29pm | View PDF

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently released its 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report. Suicide numbers are down, they say, for the second year in a row.

At the same time, they announced the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grants, a program that gives money to community organizations to create suicide prevention programs, and authorized $174 million to be handed out over the course of three years to provide those services.

The list of groups that received the grants is impressive, with most receiving the maximum amount of $750,000. But it's the groups that received lesser amounts that arouse curiosity. War Horses for Veterans received one-third the maximum amount, yet they're very hands-on, matching horses with veterans and first responders under stress to help them recover from trauma. United States Veterans Initiative provides job assistance, rental assistance and much more, but they received only a small grant. Community Building Art Works received a similarly small grant to provide writing and art workshops for veterans and family members in all counties of three states. Legal Aid Society got half the largest amount to handle legal assistance for the whole state of Kentucky.

Declining suicide numbers are no guarantee that veterans are under less stress. In 2020, there were 6,146 veteran suicides. That year had the lowest number since 2006, but we need to look at overall rates to see what it really means. While veteran suicide numbers fell by 9.7% between 2018 and 2020, the civilian numbers fell by 5.5%.

And just so you know, Staff Sgt. Parker Gordon Fox, for whom the grant is named, was a sniper instructor at Fort Benning, Georgia, when he died in 2020 of suicide at age 25. Fox, a talented musician, left his parents and many relatives, as well as his dog, Willie Nelson Fox, and a 1962 Gibson guitar.

If you or someone you know is in trouble, call 988 and press 1. Or go online to http://www.VeteransCrisisLine.net, and chat or text to 838255. There's help 24/7. Don't wait.

(c) 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.

 

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