Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is urging veterans in New Mexico communities to seek available help if needed. September has been named Suicide Prevention Awareness Month …
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is urging veterans in New Mexico communities to seek available help if needed.
September has been named Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in many communities, including Taos County, which passed a resolution recognizing it Tuesday (Sept. 17).
The state also is trying to raise awareness of programs available to prevent suicide among veterans. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 20 veterans are lost to suicide in the United States every day.
"Veterans need to know that there is help available - right now," said Lujan Grisham in a statement. "No one should suffer alone, and no one has to. It's our turn to serve you: you have sacrificed for us, defended us and we owe you everything."
Veterans seeking assistance for mental health can reach a toll free number which operates 24/7 to help vets through difficult times. The crisis line can be reached at (800) 273-8255. In addition, families and friends can text 838255.
Local options are also available to members of the Taos community through nonprofit groups like Not Forgotten Outreach, which provide respite and workshops to help veterans better reintegrate into civilian society.
Recently, NFO was given a federal grant to expand their scope of services to behavioral therapy as well as agriculture. The group has been working with their farm near the intersection of Camino de la Placita and Paseo del Pueblo Norte in Taos to give vets various opportunities to work on mental health and solace.
Veterans can also seek assistance at the VA Hospital in Albuquerque where walks-ins are welcome at the center's emergency room.
"If you suspect someone close to you is having suicidal thoughts, talk to them - find out if everything is OK," said New Mexico Department of Veterans Services Secretary Judy Griego in a release. "If what you see or hear raises a red flag in your mind, do everything you can to get them to seek help. If they resist, you may have to do it for them."
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