President Trump announces new task force to help with veteran suicide

3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago Thursday, June 18 2020 Jun 18, 2020 Thursday, June 18, 2020 11:08:56 AM CDT June 18, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
Source: NBC
By: Hope Beitchman, KOMU 8 Producer

President Trump announced a new task force led by Second Lady Karen Pence to prevent veteran suicide on Wednesday. 

"They come home from these active battlefields and these active places and all of a sudden they're left sometimes alone, and they have a hard time with it. They fought our battles overseas, and now we must join them in winning this new battle at home," President Trump said. 

According to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie, about 20 active military members or veterans take their lives every day. 

"Each one of us can prevent the stigma that has prevented America from taking on the issue of mental health. Each one of us can work to change the culture that made it acceptable to ignore the signs of mental health and distress. Each one of us can learn to recognize the signs amongst our friends, our neighbors and our co-workers," Wilkie said. 

At the White House event, an Iraq War veteran talked about his struggles with PTSD and how he tried to take his own life. Now, a retired marine, Chad Hiser is committed to helping others. 

"I've realized through my own experience how vital it is for veterans to have a positive support system not only within our families and communities but also within our government," Hiser said.

Mrs. Pence says now is the right time to take up this issue because many of us are feeling stress and anxious. 

"I feel like right now is such an opportune time because we're all dealing with anxiety, we're all dealing with stress. So If I can do anything as lead ambassador, it's my goal to take away the stigma of mental health," Mrs. Pence said. 

The group will examine ways to break down the stigma around mental illness and get military members the help they need. 

If you or someone you know is suffering or needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It provides 24/7 support for people in distress and their families. 

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