Veterans to share suicide prevention resources

Friday, March 20, 2015 >> News Sentinel

A study published last month suggests that veterans’ suicide rate might be as much as 50 percent higher than the general population.

And, said the study published in February’s Annuals of Epidemiology, veterans are most at risk of suicide in the first three years after returning from active duty.

Help exists, though, and two local Vietnam veterans want to make sure fellow vets — and their families — know where to find it.

On Saturday, Ed Junod and Freddie Owen of the Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council will discuss services such as peer support, court treatment program assistance and recovery groups.

The presentation, sponsored by the Mental Health Ministry of Grace Lutheran Church in Oak Ridge, will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the church’s fellowship hall, 131 W. Gettysburg Ave. Child care will be available.

Junod and Owen also will talk about Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council’s program to aid churches in becoming “veteran friendly” congregations.

Combat veterans can face a number of mental health-related issues upon coming home, the two said. Problems such as post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety can be debilitating and affect both veterans and their families — and these issues can be present immediately upon a veteran’s return, or surface years or even decades later.

A 2012 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs study suggests 22 veterans per day commit suicide — one every 65 minutes. But that number likely is low, since the study looked at only 21 states and didn’t include every veteran in those states.

For more information, call Sharon Boudreaux at 865-385-3556.

News Sentinel staff

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