INTERVIEW: Veterans to commemorate other vets' death by suicide

INTERVIEW: Veterans to commemorate other vets' death by suicide

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Three veterans' support organizations will hold a candlelight vigil and a memorial service for military veterans and current servicemembers that have committed suicide. "Stop Soldier Suicide" reports an average of 20 veterans and one serving soldier, sailor, airman, or marine commits suicide each day. With that in mind, the memorial service will be May 20th at 22:20 (10:20 p.m.) at the Lubbock Veterans War Memorial at 82nd and Nashville.

While the average of suicides is down from an average of 22 daily, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, "Remember Our Heroes," and the Military Order of the Purple Heart want each veteran to get the service, support, and help they need to overcome depression or post-traumatic stress.

A guest on the News@Nine Sunday, Dick Baker with "Remember Our Heroes" said Vietnam veterans are the most at risk due to their age; most are retiring, and with fewer things to distract them, vets have a hard time keeping their traumatic experiences, pain, or grief compartmentalized.

Benny Guerrero, Jr., with the Lubbock VFW post, said that soldiers fresh from the front will also struggle with compartmentalizing their lives when they get back from a deployment; he said going from a 100 mile-per-hour life to a 5 mile-per-hour one can only bring more stress, especially when a servicemember is unable to grieve, mourn, or fully digest what they had gone through or the comrades they may have lost.

Watch the full interview above for more on how family members and friends can help both veterans and servicemembers.

If you or a veteran you know are struggling with depression, post-traumatic stress, or suicidal thoughts, call the veterans' suicide hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255. It's a service rendered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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