Nebraska will join 35 other states in a Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide. a national effort to prevent suicides by veterans, active military members and their family members.
Governor Pete Ricketts told a news conference Monday that 87 Nebraska veterans have committed suicide in the past 2 years with the Stop Soldier Suicide group showing that veterans are at a 50% higher risk for suicide than those who have not served.
Ricketts said he’s seen in his own family that veterans are often unwilling to seek certain types of healthcare, especially mental healthcare – an attitude that must be overcome.
Nebraska Health and Human Services Behavioral Health Director Sheri Dawson told the news conference the Governors’ Challenge to Prevent Suicide “is about saving lives and getting access to help sooner because one life (lost) is too many.”
Officials from the state agencies dealing with veterans and with mental health have already begun meeting in a two-year effort to come up with and implement a plan to improve the state’s outreach and treatment.
Ricketts, Dawson and state veterans director John Hilgert urged Nebraskans to reach out to veterans who may be struggling with depression or who are talking about suicide.
A state hotline that allows texts and online chats as well as voice offers immediate help: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).