Abilene Group Works to Prevent Veteran Suicide

Abilene, Texas (KRBC)-It's a fight that continues even after service. The fight to prevent suicide and substance abuse amongst active duty military and veterans.

"We have 22 veterans a day taking their own lives and we're trying to do our best to help the community to not only realize that but give them some tools to help prevent that," said Glen McGraw of the Military Veteran Peer Network.

The Military Veteran Peer Network shares tools in classes like the one Tuesday that gave tips on how to connect veterans, active duty, and civilians.

"We really do have our own culture in the military and if you don't know how to navigate that, you're going to step on some toes along the way. With mental health stuff we can't afford to be stepping on toes, we need to do our best to be prepared to help people in that community," said McGraw.

The MVPN says life in the military can present hardships that can start in active duty.

"The hardships for me deploying was a hard thing to do and leaving my family, leaving just everything  and having to deploy," said airman Lillie Joerger.

Lillie Joerger is an airman at Dyess. She attended the workshop Tuesday to learn to be there for peers that may be struggling with their mental health. .

"Being able to actively listen to people that I'm over, and knowing how to talk to them and how to be open minded to what they have going on instead of just delegating or directing them," said Joerger.

The Military Veteran Peer Network teaches how to spot when someone who is becoming distant from their loved ones.

"Listen. Number one thing is listen. And listen without trying to find a solution. Just be there to hear what they're saying. Help them find their own solutions," said McGraw.

The MVPN is always open to veterans, their loved ones, and active duty military as a place to listen and provide veteran resources.

"I feel like these kind of places give people a way to express themselves. A way to talk, to vent, and a way to understand one another," said Joerger.

 


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