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Tallahassee residents weigh-in on President Trump's order addressing veteran suicide

Veteran suicide becoming rising problem in U.S.
Posted: 5:46 PM, Mar 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-08 09:29:00Z
Tallahassee residents weigh-in on President Trump's order addressing veteran suicide

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Every day, about 20 veterans in America take their own lives.

With a number so alarming, President Trump has a plan to end veteran suicide. Local veterans spoke to WTXL about the executive order.

"In the past, I have danced around with Miss Suicide four different times," said Barbara Ann Myers, a Tallahassee veteran. Myers says her time in Vietnam was a factor, but she's doing something about it.

"I'm currently at the VA getting mental health counseling, and it is helping a lot," Myers said.

This week, the PREVENTS Initiative was signed. It's the "President's Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide."

Myers says it's too soon to talk about how effective it could be, but it's a step in the right direction.

"And so, as long as the mental health and suicide prevention money is available for the veterans, it's money well spent," Myers explained.

While several groups support the initiative, one local veteran says it needs to be reworked, and that the focus is in the wrong place.

"Throwing money at this issue will not get us to any result," said Delbert Grush, another Tallahassee veteran. Grush says just because there's more funding doesn't make the plan more successful.

"There is no standard of accountability or effectiveness implemented by the VA nor the government on these measures, and there's really not a plan of action to execute it effectively," said Grush.

Grush says he's an advocate for veterans and wants to make sure their concerns are being heard.

"I believe that this is a community issue," said Grush. "It goes far beyond the veteran community, and it's a national epidemic."

If you know a veteran who's looking for help, here are some ways to get connected with the National Veterans Crisis Line:

You can call or text 1-800-273-8255 (and press 1 after) or test 838255. It's free, anonymous and confidential.