There was a harrowing representation of how many veterans have lost their lives to suicide so far this year as 5,520 flags were placed along the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
One-hundred and seven of those flags represent Nevada veterans. On average there are 20 veteran suicides nationwide per day, and one every two and a half days in Nevada. That means veteran suicide rates in Nevada are almost double the rate of the overall population in the state.
There are more prevention and mental health resources available, but experts say there is still more work to be done.
According to the latest data released by the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs., Nevada’s veteran suicide rate is also significantly higher than the national rate.
The vast majority are men of all ages. The local V.A. Hospital in North Las Vegas helps more than 60,000 military members. About 20,000 of them seek mental health treatment.
Tim Jobin with the local V.A. Hospital says there are more resources available for veterans. Locally, they’ve expanded their suicide prevention team which goes out into the community and works remotely.
But according to Jobin, there is one thing that they still need to work on.
“There’s multiple different facets that come in but reducing stigma is so important, so there’s no difference between going in and getting a health check-up for your diabetes than just going in and getting care for your mental health services,” Jobin said.
Jobin says southern Nevada has the largest crisis call center in the country.
They also have more services to treat addiction and offer individual counseling. But the first step is reaching out for help.
An excellent place to start is by calling the veterans crisis line. It’s available at all times of the day.