Martin joins in declaring May Veteran Suicide Awareness Month

DAVISON — State Rep. David Martin of Davison and the Michigan House recently took action to raise awareness about the mental health challenges experienced by members of the military and declared May 2021 as Veteran Suicide Awareness Month in the State of Michigan.

Michigan veterans had a suicide rate of 33.8 per 100,000 in 2018, well above the overall state suicide rate of 18.8, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Among veterans age 18 to 34, the rate was 65.1 per 100,000; with rates at 40.9 per 100,000 for those age 35 to 54.

“As many veterans and their families know, not all tragedies occur on the battlefield,” Martin said. “It is a shameful fact that since Sept. 11, 2001, far more American veterans have lost their lives due to self-harm as opposed to active duty service members killed by enemy action.”

Martin, a U.S. Air Force veteran, said by bringing awareness to the issue he hopes to better connect veterans and service members to their earned benefits and other programs.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs maintains a 24/7 veterans crisis line, accessible by calling 800-273-8255 and pressing 1 or texting 838255. For more information on mental health services for veterans, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov. — G.G.