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DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Two veteran suicides happened within a span of two days at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities in Georgia.
One happened in Dublin and the other in Atlanta.
According to the VA, a veteran took his life at the Dublin VA Medical Center on Friday, April 5.
A second suicide happened the next day outside the main entrance of the Atlanta VA Medical Center.
Diane Webb, the Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the Dublin VA, says this is a national problem and that the state of Georgia has more than 700,000 veterans at a “doubled risk” for suicide.
Webb says there are 45,000 suicides in the country every year. The VA trains staff who can recognize risky signs in order to get veterans the support they need.
She says to be mindful of people who become hopeless and who isolate and withdraw themselves from social activities.
US Senator Johnny Isakson is a veteran himself and served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972.
He released a statement after the two veteran suicides.
“We will redouble our efforts on behalf of our veterans and their loved ones, including our efforts to reduce the stigma of seeking treatment for mental health issues,” he said. “The loss of even one veteran to suicide is unacceptable and devastating. Preventing veteran suicide remains a top priority for our committee, and I will continue working with VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to ensure the VA has the resources it needs and the accountability in place to make sure we are doing everything we can to prevent veteran suicide.”
Isakson says he will focus on ensuring the VA has the resources it needs to make sure they are doing everything they can to prevent veteran suicides.
The Veterans Crisis Line number is 1-800-273-8255.