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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear is urging veterans, their families, and communities to make use of services that can help prevent suicides.
A report from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs found that around 22 U.S. veterans take their own lives each day. Military families must also cope with the grief of losing family members and the depression that can often follow.
Beshear said in a news release, "When veterans or active duty service members in our families or in our communities need help, we need to step up and get involved." She said communities need to be aware of free services that can help veterans and current service members along with their families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
"This is by far the most devastating experience I have ever had in my entire life," said Carol Cassedy, who recently lost a son who was a veteran to suicide. "However, I can carry on, learning from this dreadful experience I can help other families and prevent this same tragic and irrevocable event from happening to them. My family and especially Sean's brothers and sisters struggle daily with the loss of their brother. We may never know the ‘why' of this horrible event, but we endeavor to heal as a family, go forward and help others."
"I want to say to every veteran and every family member that you aren't alone, and you don't have to suffer," said Ken Lucas, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs. "Help is here."
From Gov. Steve Beshear's office:
Help for service members and veterans
Multiple free resources are available to veterans, as well as their friends and families. Individuals can access a national crisis hotline, a coaching program for families to encourage loved ones to seek help, business outreach programs for veterans and community support.
Because timely intervention is the key to saving a life, a free Veterans Crisis Line is available to provide immediate help. Use the line 24 hours a day via phone, text or Internet. Call 1-800-273-8255 (press 1); send a text to 838255. Confidential online chat is available at www.veteranscrisisline.net.
Coaching into Care is a free service from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, supported by licensed clinical social workers and psychologists. Family, friends and neighbors of veterans can get confidential assistance to figure out how to seek needed services. (http://mirecc.va.gov/coaching/)
Peer support is available. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs encourages veterans and families to "Make the Connection" with other veterans and resources that can help improve their lives. MakeTheConnection.net is a one-stop resource where veterans, families and friends can learn about available resources and support, including mental health treatment options.
This year, the state began the Kentucky Military Behavioral Health Initiative. Its purpose is to collaborate with the federal government and community partners to strengthen behavioral health services for veterans, service members and their families. This effort involves more strategic delivery of services to our military families, therefore increasing coordinated care.