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Ducey proclaims day of awareness for veteran suicide in Arizona

(Twitter Photo/@dougducey)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has declared Aug. 19 a veteran suicide awareness day in an effort to combat the “epidemic” in the state.

“From our veterans to our young people, no one is really immune from this tragedy, or epidemic, we know as suicide,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Tuesday.

“So what we want to do is get people connected to appropriate resources. There’s care and treatment and prevention that can help prevent suicide.”

The governor proclaimed “Be Connected Day” on Monday while speaking at the launch of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services Be Connected roadshow.

The roadshow was designed to provide resources to veterans in all parts of the state, including the rural communities that Ducey said are “especially challenging” for preventing suicide.

While Be Connected has been in place since 2017, this is the first year that it is putting on the roadshow.

According to Ducey’s proclamation, the risk of suicide is three times higher among Arizona veterans and four times higher among “older” Arizona veterans compared to nonveterans.

The proclamation also states that Be Connected, which was allocated $1.2 million in this year’s state budget, has worked with over 20,000 Arizonans.

Retired Air Force Col. Wanda Wright, director of the state’s Department of Veterans’ Services, said at the announcement Monday that the program works to intervene when veterans are having a hard time adjusting to civilian life.  

“We don’t want to get them when they’re in crisis. We want to get them well before that, with any social determinants of care that they need,” Wright said.

Ducey encouraged anyone who needs help to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

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